Happy Blog Birthday to The Science Goddess!

Better late than never, here’s wishing Happy 5th Blog Birthday to The Science Goddess of the provocative edublog What It’s Like On the Inside.

The Science Goddess once was a classroom teacher whose adventures in eduland made for humorous stories about the foibles of our stereotypical edutyrants and eduposeurs. Nowadays, with a doctorate about to be conferred, she often forces us to think of our grading and assessment practices that impact, sometimes with terrible irony, the success of our students in middle and high school.

The Science Goddess now works at the state level, but still finds time to share with us the fruits of her explorations into the frontiers of education as it may, and probably should be, in the next century.

Read The Science Goddess. Subscribe to her RSS feed. Your brain will thank you.

The Thoughtful Teacher

Apple-Jar

I’m not just talking about me…I’m talking about you, too.

Let me know if the blog name change is too much, or whether it’s more in line with what I hope to achieve, which is exploring education topics that defy universal agreement, but demonstrate a commitment to caring and professionalism.

Why didn’t I call it The Reflective Teacher? I’m thinking that the word  “reflective” is overused jargon, don’t you? The ideal reading level for understanding and being understood is around eighth grade. That’s what newspapers shoot for, and I’m thinking they have a good idea.

Taking My Medicine

I recant my intention to move lock, stock, and barrel over to Straight Talk. I was one of those ideas that seemed okay on the surface, but it didn’t survive four days of attempted implementation.

Frankly, the focus of Straight Talk is too narrow. The local folks who have it on RSS would tune out if I had too many discussions that were not directly relevant to what’s happening in Hillsboro, and other readers would tire of the local stuff. Tom Brandt was right. Two blogs it is.

My apologies for the false alarm. It’s embarrassing to have growing pains at my age! But I am significantly closer to being less bit-challenged. 😀

Big However: I did replace the stuffy links on Straight Talk with my home team. Some of those links will perk up the locals, eh? And I did unsubscribe to all “permission” Outlook emails (except the local weather) over these last four days!

I haven’t even visited my fly fishing forum recently, and I don’t feel like I’m missing much. My email’s in my profile, so I’m not unreachable to the fishing folks I know there.

So much for the personal drivel. I’m ready to take my medicine.

To Be Me Or Not To Be Me? Is That A Question?

This post started out as a comment on some musings by The Science Goddess about male vs. female tendencies to use pseudonyms on blogs.

Here’s my coming out speech from the Blogger platform…

Choosing between a pseudonym and a real nym involves some complex thinking, but I’m not sure it’s anything but an emotional decision.

Writing as Repairman, although I still exercised enough restraint to remain “professional,” allowed me the belief that if I came on a little strong, there would be no consequences outside of civil, or at worst, flaming disagreement on the net. Then I spotted a local stalker who stumbled on my blog and put two and two together with local events and news. I realized that, even for a restrained anonymous blogger, anonymity is largely an illusion, and the only person being fooled is the blogger.

The next thoughts are reflective, and you think, “Is what I have to say worth saying if I attach my name and reputation to it?” That’s where the rubber meets the road, because the answer is, if you’re going to blog under your own name, you need to follow the same rules of civility that apply in face-to-face interactions with both people you know and people you don’t know.

So I’m thinking that the pen name versus real name question can be answered by deciding the purpose of your blog. If you’re into satire and criticism, or humor at the expense of your doughball local educators, there’s no doubt that you need a pseudonym. If your purpose is to discuss education issues and comment on life in general, and you’re not afraid of people pointing at you and laughing at your thoughts, your real name bespeaks belief in your own words and vouches for your integrity.

I get the urge now and then to rip someone a new one (I was born and raised a Brooklyn boy, after all), but for that I would need to be someone else, immune to the hurt and injury I may do to the victim. But that’s not my blogging purpose, even though I sometimes feel the pull to stray into that minefield. (But all bets are off if someone engages me on my own turf, and abuses truth and logic.)

Lest some of my blogging friends feel I am disapproving of anonymity, let me say that I dearly love to read the satires and the reports of unnamed education clowns. That’s entertainment for me and catharsis for the writer. Go for it. But protect yourself.

If you find yourself leaning mostly toward “non-fiction,” however, a real name makes you think twice about what you say, and that makes what you have to say better.

I do know of bloggers who have multiple blogs that serve their various personas. Maybe that’s the ticket. But real name or not, remember that nothing is ever truly anonymous on the web, and it never goes away. (The Science Goddess is the first blogger who made me aware of that fact.) l

Now, let me ask one more question here…does the predominance of female use of pseudonyms (according to The Science Goddess) mean that women are more snarky – in general – than men? 😀 (Oooh, I can already feel the flames!)

From MW Webster’s Collegiate…

Main Entry:snarky
Pronunciation:*sn*r-k*
Function:adjective
Etymology:dialect snark to annoy, perhaps alteration of nark to irritate
Date:1906

1 : CROTCHETY, SNAPPISH
2 : sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner *snarky lyrics*
-snark£i£ly \-k*-l*\ adverb

PS: You’ll enjoy this post by Miss A on Blogging Professional Development…

New Blog In Town

Reflecting on the Reflection of My Reflection

Notes From The School Psychologist
promises to fill a gap in our common pedagogical reflections. Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. blogs without a pseudonym, and offers insight and encouragement to us to see kids as vulnerable human beings who need our mentorship and caring rather than control and the always inequitable discipline that too many of us practice.

The world of a school psychologist is similar to a counselor’s and once or twice removed from a teacher’s, but all the reflections and anecdotes will enhance our vision of our profession.

Welcome to this little corner of the edublogosphere, Rebecca. I think you’ll find some folks you can talk to here.

Life Comin’ At Ya

Even though I feel like I’m singing in the shower a lot of the time, I know that I have edu-blogger friends who wonder, at some point during an extended abesence of one of our number, what the hell happened to “So and so?”

In Blog Writing 101, we all learn never to apologize for absences or lack of something worth blogging about, right? It’s boring to read, and we’re embarrassed for our previously absent friend who can’t think of anything to do but apologize for being off the air, or say, “hey, I’m here saying that I have nothing to say.”

I suppose it all boils down to priorities — if you have a lot of them, blogging may not always rise to the top. If blogging is a big priority, you’ll be there. But we have limits on us imposed by just that…priorities. Not time, but priorities. (If anyone says they don’t have time, what they really mean is, it ain’t important enough.)

I don’t have any more pressing matters to attend to than the average retiree, besides running a tutoring business, consulting with school districts, serving on the board of ed, keeping my wife happy by doing my household chores, maintaining social relationships, writing a series of special reports that may be bundled as a book, and finally, learning that, like managing money, managing health has to be a personal issue, not downloaded to the first available expert.

My personal philosophy for dealing with stress (some call it “worry”) is to immediately solve the problem and neutralize the challenge (that includes getting outside help), or, if it’s out of my control, “fugedaboudit.” Totally. I detest feelings of anxiety.

Life is good and I’m looking forward to sharing more thoughts on education, radical as they may be. Thanks for sticking with me!

Coming Attractions!

Maybe that should say, “Coming back soon!”

Thank you to the readers (you know who you are — I do) who have continued to check this blog even though their RSS feed aggregators indicated a possible flatline.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn’t look like an oncoming train, so let me say, stay tuned and we’ll get into more controversy, more reflection, more arguments, and more fun in the very near future.

Besides the business obligations, I confess that I did have to put a little time into the Common Waters of Oregon site and Straight Talk. Those are do or die things. RepairKit is an avocation. Ironically, I’m more attached to the people who associate with this blog. Go figure.

See you very soon! — Hugh