A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

USAToday highlights teacher blogs: Why do we do it?

Sunday's USAToday carried an article on teacher blogs. The article itself highlighted our very own Elementaryhistoryteacher, Folkbum, First Year Teacher, Joe Thomas, Dennis Fermoyle, and guest teacher extraordinaire Mr. Lawrence. First Year Teacher is the only one who remains "in the blogger closet" like me.

Nonteachers who write on education included Alexander Russo and Joanne Jacobs (more free advertising for her book, which is a sweet deal!).

Then there was a sidebar listing some teacher blogs--- and whoa, A Shrewdness of Apes was there! An interjection that unfortunately combined scatology and piety escaped my lips before I could stop... trying to cut back, you know.

Basically, the article pondered why teachers would blog. I'll tell you why I blog. I like the conversations that happen on blogs. I stumbled upon blogs by reading Kimberly Swigert, which led to EdWonk, which led to Mamacita and bunch of other great bloggers. I am a chronic commenter, and I had commented on a couple of blogs anonymously, when I realized there was more I wanted to say. I personally don't like commenters who completely hijack a blog-- it's like illegal immigration in cyberspace, if you ask me. I used to write all the time, essays and articles and poetry, but then career and kids and other obligations got in the way. Blogging helped me to reconnect with myself as a writer (I was already completely in touch with myself as an opinionated person!). So I decided to get my own. It was frighteningly easy.

Now, I personally try not to write too much about specific students, and if I do, I usually change some information around to make sure privacy is protected. But I have not talked about this blog with anyone at my school. Ever. I have a blog for my AP classes, and that, frankly, that is a way to save printing costs, help my students understand documents and vocabulary, and appease the environment for my big honkin' SUV.

Although I love my school, and I like most of my administrators as people, our school does not really care too much about what teachers think. Several administrators have little or no practical experience, and are subtly dismissive of teachers. Of my immediate teacher colleagues, there are not a lot of thoughtful conversations (that don't involve The Simpsons) from many of them unless they want something. I do take my vocation seriously. It seems like teachers are viewed by many who opine about public education as socialist sinecured slackers or amoral atheists or automotons who should read from a script and magically fix everything that is wrong with society and our children. So I get to speak here. And remaining anonymous is very important if I really want to be honest. I am not here to be bitchy, but I reserve that right on occasion. Further, our district is absolutely obsessive about PR. So I remain anonymous.

I have met more fascinating people through this blogosphere than I ever thought possible, people who are very kind and share my passion for education.

And that's why I blog. I imagine many others have similar reasons. I don't like people who talk, talk, talk but never listen. I don't like rudeness. Most of us in the Edusphere are not here to bitch, or provide grist for the mills of disgruntled homeschoolers or dissembling enemies of public education. I like to laugh, I like to share ideas, I like games, I like music, I love Oklahoma as only an expatriate can, and I love teaching. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the conversations.


At 9/20/06, 6:54 PM, Blogger Mamacita said...

That's wonderful that you were listed, congratulations!

And thank you for mentioning my name; that was really nice of you. Most of the time, I don't feel very important or influential, and I genuinely appreciated your mention.

Did I say 'thank you?' Well, I'm saying it again.

At 9/20/06, 7:10 PM, Blogger Spangles said...

Thank you! I read blogs for many of the same reasons. Teaching can be isolating and frustrating. It's nice to reach out to like-minded and interested people such as yourself.

At 9/20/06, 7:40 PM, Blogger Dr. Jan said...

I love to read your blog... eloquent, passionate, informed... and I totally relate to your educational philosophy. Keep at it, Ms. Cornelius!

At 9/20/06, 8:04 PM, Anonymous Lady S said...

Nice words, as usual.

At 9/20/06, 8:24 PM, Blogger nebraska girl said...

I'm working on my degree to become a teacher, and I read blogs like yours so I have an idea of some of the problems I may face and also to see some of the triumphs that occur. Thank you for putting this out there for us to see.

At 9/20/06, 8:31 PM, Blogger The MAN Fan Club said...

I like to blog what is going on so many of my friends in different states can keep up with what I am doing. I also like to blog about things that amuse me. I do my best to avoid blogging about the things that drive me crazy at school: useless staff meetings, meeting just to meet, rediculous off contract hour expectations, etc. My friend PIGS was just the opposite, often treading on thin ice.

My biggest UH OH came when a room mom said, "I searched Petes Pizza Buffet and your blog came up. Guess you don't like it." Our school had a pizza night there. I went back to see if I had any incriminating material on it.

At 9/21/06, 5:19 AM, Blogger Pass The Torch said...

Impressive to make the USA Today!

I'm enjoying your blog.

At 9/21/06, 12:55 PM, Anonymous MellowOut said...

I can't work yet because of immigration issues, so these blogs keep me in the know of the trends, concerns, etc. regarding education. I really miss being in the classroom, so this has been a welcome addition to my day. (Not to mention the fun of your Mondays, Ms. C!)

I have often thought of starting a blog myself, but I am afraid of incriminating myself during a rant, so if I do it, I might blog on more generilized things and education-specific issues. In addition, I wonder if all this attention to bloggers in general and, specifically, education bloggers will bring about some new laws related to privacy and libel.

At 9/21/06, 3:50 PM, Blogger Megan said...

I saw the article, too, and noticed your site on the side. I'm glad they listed you since your blog is one of my favorite teacher blogs around.

At 9/21/06, 10:09 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

National exposure....Kuhl! Keep posting and I'll keep reading.

Wern't it a crime what those PAC-10 officials did to OU last Saturday. Such outright fraud shouldn't of happened to ANY team.

At 9/22/06, 10:45 PM, Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I finally posted my thoughts on the whole thing tonight. Thank you for all of the nice things you had to say over at my place.

You know, this bloggin "thang" wouldn't be the same without you!


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