Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. I just got back from a wonderful vacation out in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and spent quite a lot of time relaxing, taking in sun, and being as un-teacherly as possible. Today, I’d like to show you a bit of a conversation between Jose, the writer / socialite / homebody, and Mr. Vilson, the teacher / professional / networker person. This conversation stems from the cavalcade of events that have made their way in my direction: my new position in school as hybrid teacher / data analyst / math coach, the tons of friend requests I’ve gotten from fellow staff members, and the great reading I’ve done as of late (finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and I’m halfway through the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire). Without further adieu, here’s the part I can share here:
Jose: So what you’re saying is that I shouldn’t blog the way I do anymore?
Mr. V: I’m not saying that, but a part of me feels like with all these new and different eyes reading, your … iconoclastic views (to put it lightly) might offend certain people, and for that matter, bring about views from people that might make you feel differently about them, and not in a good way.
Jose: Well, fine, I guess it just means that I’ll have to separate the professional from the personal. After all, I don’t go into anyone else’s house and tell them what to do with their fridge, their writing, their soap operas, or their kids. Frankly, people can choose to not read my material. No one’s asking them to add me, Google me, or anything of the sort. Even my self-promotion knows its limits.
Mr. V: You’re right in some respects, but you know the way people are. Some people’s means for entertainment is gossip and trying to find someone else’s weakness, trying to find what makes them tick. Thus, when you put too much out there, people will use it against you. When you were “just” a teacher, it was easy for you to just spew at the mouth, even though you rarely if ever did. Now, as a teacher and liaison for teachers and administrators, you take on a different role.
Jose: But here’s my issue, too: if people really wanted to know my opinion on something, couldn’t they just ask me? Why go to my blog if Mr. Vilson can just tell them straight up?
Mr. V: a) Because they don’t want to actually ask. Sometimes, my demeanor as a professional can be a bit intimidating, as funny as that sounds, and b) Because oftentimes, humans don’t always communicate what they really mean.
Jose: Well I’ll give you that, but still, there’s something to be said for someone who’d rather go somewhere else to know about me rather than actually form their own opinion about me first. More importantly, they’ve gotta know I’m in it for the kids. Regardless of what others perceive, I’ve made it rather plain that I’m a professional, that I’m not going to lambaste anyone on the blog, and frankly, that Mr. Vilson’s work is all about the students.
Mr. V: It’s rather disheartening, too, because I also think you take care not to become divisive in your opinion on issues. Plus, what does it say when teachers get treated as a monolithic entity unable to form opinions about anything else in this world?
Jose: Well, the main question here is: how free do you want to be? What are you willing to sacrifice?
Mr. V: Let me get back to you on that.