Why My Blog (Probably) Will Get Me Booted Out

There are quite a few arguments the committee probably considered, arguments that ostensibly linked my blog to unprofessional conduct. Due to a request or two in the comments, I’ll run them down pretty quickly, sparing you my four pages of single-spaced retort.

You talk about students online. That’s unprofessional.

That’s a observation better noted the hundreds of professional teachers who share student anecdotes online each week. My view, and the view of others, is that it’s high-level staff lounge gossip, and there’s negligible danger of outsiders figuring out who is who; only faculty at my school could even begin to try to figure out which student is which. Those who can figure it out have probably already heard the story, anyway.

Maybe my problem is that I used actual teachers as models for professionalism. Sorry about that.

You write about teachers online, breaking an unstated, implicit confidentiality between you and them.

They gave helpful, specific advice, and they weren’t put in a bad light. Nothing sounded confidential, and nothing seemed like a problem.

What about the BTSA entry, where you write that BTSA is bullshit? At least one teacher was put in a bad light, there. You’ve written similar things about the credential program being “useless.”

I didn’t say that BTSA is anything — I quoted a teacher, making clear that his view represented a wide consensus of teachers, from the most novice to the most veteran, so everyone’s already in that light, bad or not. I didn’t create the light; I just photographed it.

As for the credential program, while I have written extensively on my personal view that the rigmarole surrounding it is useless, this is an even less controversial viewpoint than BTSA. In my scouring of the profession, I’ve met exactly two people who believe that their credential program, outside their student teaching, prepared them for the classroom. I found both of them online, where all those unprofessionals are.

Booting me out isn’t going to fix your extant public relations issues. They’ll continue to flourish, and I’ll take great enjoyment in it.

Don’t you realize that having a blog lowers the chance you’ll find a job?

Yes, of course. It also raises the chances of finding a job where I’d be happy to work. The first advice I got from my first master teacher went like this: There’s nothing as good as a good administration; there’s nothing as bad as a bad one.

Good and bad, in this context, are exactly relative to how supportive they are of my professional development. That’s this blog. If an employer sees my blog and is turned off, chances are that I didn’t want to work there anyway. If an employer sees my blog and is turned on, either he likes pictures of the sun setting or his school district is exactly where I want to work.

If there aren’t employers like that, I’ll wait until they wise up. There are other, non-teaching jobs out there.

You could have been anonymous, as all professionals would be.

You mean like most of the top 50 education bloggers who, as teacher blogger Dan Meyer noted, write using their real names?

The first thing we told you was that Facebook and MySpace will get you in trouble.

Blogs aren’t Facebook and MySpace. Blogs are worthwhile, not only serving a legitimate purpose but giving the author complete creative control over the content, to boot. Facebook and MySpace are where your friends upload pictures of your drunkenness for all the world to see, whether you want them to or not. Subtle difference.

You could have asked us for advice, you know.

In my experience across multiple colleges at our university, most professors who say “I love talking 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 relationship between your school and this college with your unprofessional behavior. We need that relationship to place more student teachers.

Considering the perceived efficacy of the credential program among teachers and from even within your department, my perceived unprofessionalism among teachers is a drop in the bucket.

I doubt there was much lasting damage, either — I’ll bet you that half of the teachers have already chalked my actions up to the foolishness of one arrogant, self-absorbed, egotistical youth.

This arrogant, self-absorbed, egotistical youth hasn’t officially heard back committee yet. Wish me luck, even if the lucky path is getting kicked out, with prejudice.


  1. Tim

    It sounds as if some members of your “committee” are unfortunately looking for an excuse to criticize you and your blogging.

    I disagree, however, that writing this site will lower your chances of getting a job. Depending on the school, it might even help, but it could be cited as a reason not to hire you if the principal is looking for one.

    My advice, for what it’s worth, is to be honest with yourself as well as your readers. As I tell students when we discuss their blogging, it’s fine to critique the ideas with which you disagree but not to slam the people for holding those views.

  2. I tried to be very clear that I wasn’t slamming the people in the program, only the program itself. Regardless, they didn’t quite take it that way.

  3. You have some pretty good commentary in there!

    So (being a teacher now you know that even if the lesson learned wasn’t what was intended, we all learn something through everything) what have you learned with all this?

  4. There are certainly quite a few lessons jam-packed in there. Even forgetting interpersonal skills — always a weakness — I learned quite a bit about what professionalism is, and what higher-ups think it is.

    Probably the biggest lesson: Make verbal concessions, because disagreement often boils down simple miscommunication and an intense interest in semantics. Because of this, little is worth defending to the death. The kicker? I learned this not through this whole ordeal, but through talking with one students’ parents.

    Now, while I doubt appeasement would work on the level of business executives or with high politics, it works pretty nicely in a position of low-level authority.

    As far as how to respond to authority, my master teacher told me, weeks ago, the most career-efficient route.

    Grab your ankles.

    I heard that, and I believed it. But while few things are worth defending to the death, I believed that the blog was one of them. I harbor no regrets about how I played the endgame.

  5. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the politics you dislike aren’t limited to teaching. The things you seem to dislike the most about schools are in every profession. Leaving teaching will not let you leave ‘politics’ (unless you are going to become a self-employed hermit), so I hope you are ready for that. Its pretty simple really, no matter what you think of your boss, its necessary to please them b/c they have that boss-power hanging over your head. Even if you don’t believe in what they are saying you have to do it or they can make your life more difficult than it has to be.

    Think about if later you to get an office job and blog regularly how you don’t like the way the business is run, or you allude to what you are doing is stupid. Why would someone want to keep you around with that attitude?

    I know your blog is very helpful for you, and I have enjoyed reading it a lot, but anytime you are publicizing things like hating the credential program, administrators (or bosses in your next job) will take issue with it.

    It seems like you took a stand on principle for something that wasn’t worth it. The endgame is, you kept your blog, but now you are out of teaching.

    Political games are difficult at first, but it really is just a game. I was lucky to have a Mentor who just said to me nearly every day “Just play the game.”

    There were times in meetings where I wanted to get up and scream at people, and tell them what I really thought. But what is the sense in that?

    Instead I just kept my mouth shut and grinned and nodded my way through to tenure approval. The verbal concessions you are talking about are totally necessary in schools, but also in other professions as well.

    You really need to figure out a way depersonalize it all, which is hard.

  6. What I dislike about teaching most, at least that which differentiates teaching from other than the professions, wasn’t limited to the cattiness of every job — it was the lesson planning on my own time, the long days spent in 52-minute blocks, the teacher martyrs.

    There were a thousand other things like that, each piling up on another as I try to weigh what few benefits I can determine against it.

    Think about if later you to get an office job and blog regularly how you don’t like the way the business is run, or you allude to what you are doing is stupid. Why would someone want to keep you around with that attitude?

    My job, as far as I was concerned, wasn’t with the credential program, and my highest authority wasn’t the dean of the Kremen School of Education. It was at my high school, where my highest authority was my master teachers, or my principal.

  7. The fun I have planning lessons is a big plus on the plus side of teaching. For me, anyway. If you resent spending “outside time” on that, teaching may not be your ideal career. Ideally you can find a way to get paid for something you love doing anyway!

    Now if I could just find a way to make GRADING fun…

  8. Sometimes I like finding ideas, and putting ’em together in what I think are interesting and provocative ways. I really didn’t like writing it up in a form lesson plan, so I rarely did that part of lesson planning, much to the chagrin of my master teacher.

    Perhaps ironically, I liked grading, especially students’ essays. I used a delightfully irreverent rubric, and that made all the difference.

  9. You made a couple of nice points there. I did a search on the topic and discovered most folks will have the exact same opinion with your blog.

  10. a particular of the best Why My Blog (Probably) Will Get Me Booted Out On the Tenure Track I recently found up to now

  11. Leslie Ling-Ling

    Not faculty, mere credential student although with advanced degree and such. Yes, there’s a lot a crap going on. They advertise this “ten year to complete the single subject credential” program, but when you come back with the masters, they put you through the ringer basically. The specialty department English was particularly nasty no apologies, like pick a fight and then say the applicant was difficult. If you have the misfortune of not completing your initial student teaching for any reason you have to go to committee to explain what happened and what you would do differently. This seemingly innocuous requirement is “sun death.”

    My case? They deliberately matched me up with a rookie just graduated traveling teacher for a Master Teacher. When I requested a change, the match was even worse! Authoritarian teacher in a law and order school. The teacher was so mean, I had to threaten to tape record her unkindly remarks, which resulted in dismissal. That was my three weeks, five years ago. Now arrived back and trying to be readmitted, they don’t want me to talk about my masters, or my recent graduate teaching assistant experiences. They only want to have me talk about my experience five ago.

    Does that sound nuts or what. I have submitted all these wonderful documents, such as resume, reference letters, but they are only worried about covering their butts from five years ago! Those are the committee rules!

    Which brings me to career suicide issue. Yes, the English Department and SSC will persistently set me up in as lousy a Master teaching opportunity as they can again knowing that if said minority female if doesn’t finish this time, she is out of the program forever with a bad mark no alibi. But that committee is sure cheap insurance the way they probably see it, costs only one salaried technician to protect a cottage industry for favorite sons and daughters who get the best matches and job placements later….

    C’est la vie!

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