In Defense of a Student Teacher’s Edublog

An appropriate denouement, but it’s happening earlier than I had intended. While I had planned to publish this much later, after finishing up my personal student teaching reflection, the cat’s mostly out of the bag.

I might as well let the mongrel all the way out.

In Defense of a Student Teacher’s Edublog:
Partial Transcript of the Statement Delievered to the Kremen School of Education’s Admissions and Standards Board
June 12, 2008
1:30 p.m.
ED 250

Instructions: There are two instructions. This is to be read aloud, not read silently to yourself; please follow the instructions.

I submit this with the good faith that, despite the intra-department gossip about how the Kremen School of Education works, the committee hasn’t already made its decision. Appropriately, recent comments on my blog lead me to believe that this faith is based on a false hope.

I’ve made many mistakes in my student teaching. Blogging about my student teaching experience is not one of those mistakes. If anything, the mistakes I made had more to do with not letting my principal in on the ground floor than it did writing about my experiences as a student teacher. My mistake was in telling my master teacher, and assuming her authority over my student teaching was as absolute as she meant it to be.

For the sake of time, I’ll briefly mention that the purpose of my blog was twofold: First, I chronicled the student teaching experience for education insiders and outsiders alike; second, I would elicit best practices with a practical twist from my readers.

Forgetting the very real health benefits of blogging — as reported in the May issue of Scientific American — there are very real professional benefits. I could instantly elicit and receive advice, share lesson plans and argue issues of high educational theory at the drop of a hat.

As you read this — I assume you’re reading this on your own time, no matter what the instructions say; if this is not the case, my sincere thanks — consider your schedule, your attention span, and your tolerance for long-winded, overwrought arguments. Then, consider why didn’t I simply ask you, the busy department faculty member, for advice, or even ask the professionals around me at my high school.

Simply put: If I did manage to catch up with a department member, when I wasn’t teaching and he or she wasn’t busy, and if I did manage to ask them the difficult questions about practical teaching maneuvers that might mean I’d get good answers. It might mean I’d leave satisfied. If I did this daily, it would almost definitely leave them annoyed. The low chance of success and the high chance that it would backfire made this no option at all.

Don’t look so aghast and shocked. I have personal experience with this in a number of departments and schools across the university. After three consecutive days or as few as 10 minutes of spirited discussion, the professor remembers a staff meeting, a dentist appointment or some sudden, urgent, previously arranged task for the faculty member to finish. There’s also a distinct decline in that professor’s actual interest in the subject of discussion. If this does not describe you, then you are a hard-to-find exception, in denial or a liar.

Blogging allows me to solicit the opinions of people who are, by definition, interested enough to respond. Not only that, but they respond on their own time, and because they want to. There isn’t the expectation that every single one of my readers respond in a timely fashion, or at all — if they do, anyway, then there’s the added benefit that no love is lost.

Faulty or not, this was my logic.


  1. Tim

    Not to generalize too much, but I got to be honest, if you haven’t figured it out just yet. Teaching and the teaching profession is very much like a cult. You need to play along with the game. In a few years, you will get tenure that you are waiting for, and THEN can be more like yourself. Until then, play along. Wear a necktie if you don’t already, cheer at “Let’s pass the state standardized test and make AYP!!” pep rallies, give homework every night, have cutsie lesson plans written out and placed on your desk everyday, make sure that if you hang up student work that it is graded using a ruburic,…you know the rest. There is nothing more a principal hates more than a teacher who thinks for themselves. NOTHING! You are also wise beyond your years. You seem like an old soul. In interviews, play up that fact. A principal won’t hire you, if he can’t mold you. Principals love young teachers because they can mold them, they can abuse them. If you are 21 going on 41, good luck getting that job.

    From reading your blogs, I think I used to be a lot like you. Maybe still am. I am 34 years old now, but it seemed like yesterday that I was a 20 year old in one of my juinor year “pre-student teaching” gigs at a college in the midwest. I was the do-my-own-thing kind of student teacher. Didn’t wear a tie [Why are educators so freakin’ obsessed about neckties?], wrote half-ass lesson plans. Kick ass lessons, but half-ass “what’s the point of this bullshit?” lesson plans. It was so bad, my prof wrote a sad face on my paper. Didn’t comment about what I was teaching about or the lesson itself, just how it was written. Long story short, I was “recommended with reservation”. Suposedly, there was talk amongst the school of ed staff that I NOT be recommended for full-fledged student teaching. Nothing about my teaching skills. They thought I was “not professional” and there were questions about my lack of maturity. This was told to me from an ally in the program. Those that had these feelings were to chicken shit to tell me to my face.
    One final anology about teaching. A school principal is kind of like a frog. A free thinking teacher like you is like a pot of boiling water. Throw a principal in the boiling water and he will jump out. Principals want boring, blank slate teachers (those would be cold water). You can eventually get to boiling water, but wait several years 9and kill the frog). Do it gradually. You are young. At 21, three years may as well be a decade. Trust me, as you get older, life blazes by. You are way to smart, and way to talented to leave the field of teaching or not get in it before you even start. Believe it or not, there are teachers like you. As evidence of our friends who post replies to you. I even think Black David is an ally and a friend. There are those like you in schools. Not many, but some.
    I don’t know really what has happened, is happening, or will happen with you and your school of ed department. I’m not there, nor do I really know you for real, for real. However, I can tell you, as a self-described “rebel teacher”, I do regret not playing along with the game in my undergrad years. If I had it to do over again, I would have written cutsie lesson plans. Maybe even in purple ink and smilie faces or hearts as dots of my i’s.
    Keep it real, my friend. Keep it real. Solidarity forever.

  2. Tim

    correction needed. I should have proofread. The following part of the above makes no sense.

    “You seem like an old soul. In interviews, play up that fact. A principal won’t hire you, if he can’t mold you. Principals love young teachers because they can mold them, they can abuse them. If you are 21 going on 41, good luck getting that job.”

    I was getting a few thoughts and points and mixed them up. What I meant to say was DON’T act wise beyong your years. Play up the fact that you are young…Damn. I screwed that up. Oh well. It’s hot. It is 9:10AM and my school building is already 120 degrees. Messes with the mind.

  3. There’s more in your comment that discourages me than encourages me to continue the teaching profession.

    I have plenty of options, and plenty of connections, outside education to get enjoyable, worthwhile, legitimately interesting and productive jobs where I don’t have to play the game so severely, much less in a high-stress environment for years on end.

    David Black is an excellent ally, isn’t he? It’s amazing what happens when you don’t dismiss angry Internet users as trolls outright.

  1. 1 Priorities « On the Tenure Track

    […] of unprofessionalism. I decided that I had better things to do, and I submitted a lengthy statement […]

  2. 2 Why My Blog (Probably) Will Get Me Booted Out « On the Tenure Track

    […] to students all the time” are liars. I had no reason to believe that Kremen was any different. I address these concerns with greater detail in the given statement. You’ve irreparably damaged the […]

  3. 3 It Was Bound to Happen Eventually « Off the Tenure Track

    […] September 12, 2008 in The Way It WereTags: teaching, student, history, college, city, easy, state, social, science, fired, pictures, long, university, haired, pothead, harvard. shoot, buzzcut, schools As a school photographer, I take pictures at schools. It was only a matter of time before the school I student taught at would come up. I worried at first, given my history. […]

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