Stepping Back to Assess

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, yeah, the dragon’s in a cage, but the dragon’s still breathing fire. Good for the dragon. I think I need to follow the dragon’s example.

Since I went live with my real identity, I feel like I’ve been caged and my fire has most certainly been reduced.

A number of bloggers I’ve read recently have talked about struggling with going “live” or remaining covert. Tough decision. I’ve seen how it affects my writing and I’m not real happy.

Anonymity is not a free pass to be rude or sloppy with the facts. But being out there as yourself can inhibit expression.

Lately I’ve been reviewing the internet literature on standard-based grading and marvelling about my loss of literary passion. I’ve never stooped to ad hominem attacks on adversaries, but I’ve never backed off from calling plays as I see them.

Lately, I’ve been somewhat mute. I’m not afraid of lawsuits, but don’t want to embarrass folks I associate with and care about. The fact is, though, if they’re worth caring about, they won’t be embarrassed by me. That goes for my fellow board members and my excellent superintendent.

So the first thing I’m going to tackle is the irresponsibility of print and internet publications that wear the mantle of “official and valid teacher information.” The Teacher Magazine blog board is one of those gratuitous fonts of drivel and cool stuff that enjoys the halo effect of education establishment legitimation. See if you can find some problems I have with this particular edition…

PS: Tomorrow I’m gonna wish myself Happy Independence Day for a number of different reasons. 😉

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5 thoughts on “Stepping Back to Assess

  1. I think that we (as a society) are rapidly reaching a point where it is considered okay to be a professional and have a blog. Even a year ago, blogging was still seen as something for weirdos by many. The interest in “integrating” these public and private selves is due in part to the change in levels of acceptance. Bloggers like you who have made the transition with no ill effects to their careers will have paved the way for the rest of us.

    I do find it interesting, however, that at this time it is nearly all men who blog under their own names while women use pseudonyms. What does that say about our culture?

    Thanks for the reassurance, SG. I always wanted to be a pioneer. 😉

    If women don’t feel safe blogging without a pseudonym, I can only think that it’s an extension of the vulnerability women feel in non-digital mainstream culture. What it says is that we have a long way to go to achieve social egality, fraternity, and liberty. 😦 –Hugh

  2. For some reason this post of yours reminded me of Erasmus (Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536) who was a Dutch Humanist who stirred up controversy with his writings. He lived in times of significant changes, one of the most important of these was the establishment of movable type printing. Before movable type printing, books and documents had to be copied by hand. Most of this was done by monks. Books were valuable treasures owned by the privileged or in libraries supported by patrons. In the late 1400s and early 1500s printing came into its own.

    I believe this is analogous to the arrival of the internet. In the latter part of the 20th century books were freely available to all but communication amongst individuals was done mainly via the mails, and in the case of scientific research, via professional journals. Now we have nearly instant communication via the internet.

    Internet users can use RSS aggregators or similar programs to scan their favorite sites and know in short order if a site has new postings. Emails flash around the world in moments. With sites like Flickr, photos of important events can be posted from mobile devices (cell phones) at a scene for all to see within moments of the occurrence.

    Certainly not least of all on the internet are the postings of the writings of bloggers. If Erasmus was alive today, he may have chosen to be a blogger. And Martin Luther might have posted his 95 Theses on his blog rather than the door to his church. Even though Erasmus may have written and published some tracts anonymously, nearly all writers throughout history have written in their own names. This practice has caused much trouble for many controversial writers, but the practice was firmly in place with writers like Erasmus.

    I prefer to see bloggers who identify themselves. With the type of subjects you write about, Hugh, this lends credibility to what you have to say. If this causes controversy, think back on Erasmus. He didn’t shy away from expression his thoughts and opinions. One of his important works, In Praise of Folly, is still in print today, and with a little searching you can find the complete text on the internet.

    Wonderful history lesson, Tom! Thanks for the support.
    🙂 –Hugh

  3. I believe that in general, women are more risk-averse than men.

    Example: Imagine a parent telling a daughter not to use the curb as a jumping-off spot for her bike “because you might get hurt.” Now imagine the parent telling a son that.

    Granted, what’s true for the collective is not necessarily true for every individual in it. But I guess we could figure that out based on the fact that there ARE women who blog under their real names! 😉

  4. Hey, I’m very risk avoidant, but I think I’m out there too far to pull back now. (and I didn’t have sons, but I would most certainly not want a boy using a curb on his bike either) I’m all about overprotecting any gender kid!

  5. Margaret – I more meant imagine the response. Which child would probably be more likely to ignore the request, given that reasoning?

    Along those same lines, which parent do you think would be more likely to be protective, particularly of physical safety?

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