With thanks to Jim Docherty, Assistant Secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, who provided THIS choice statement about teacher netiquette. I’ve modified it, below:
1st Rule: You do NOT talk about Education Blog Club
2nd Rule: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT EDUCATION BLOG CLUB
3rd Rule: If someone like Jim Docherty says ‘Stop’, or the GTC goes limp, delete your account, the blog is over.
4th Rule: Only two viewers to a blog
5th Rule: One thread at a time
6th Rule: No personal matters, no moaning
7th Rule: We will advise you on anything in your personal life we feel like
8th Rule: If this is your first time writing an educational blog….why not watch a nice program on Teachers TV instead? It’s finished? Oh. Biscuit?
|Jim says: ‘Safe’|
Poor Jim. I imagine he didn’t realise that his scant comments about netiquette would be like pouring petrol on a log fire for Twitterati and edu-netizens who are, let’s be honest, scratching around in the sawdust right now for something to get sarcastic about. Mind you, he probably doesn’t sit on his computer like an abandoned Labrador in a pet shop cage, waiting for updates and replies, so I imagine he’s in a state of grace about his new-found notoriety.
Of course the sample is skewed here. The people who are upset about his apparently Luddite views are exactly the ones who are up to their nipples in blogs, Twitter accounts and Google + circles (I’m being charitable), and they’re the only ones in a position to make noise about it, in a digital expression of the anthropic principle: if they weren’t here to make noise about it, you wouldn’t hear it.
Instead, here are my rules for being a teacher in an online space:
|Probably not safe for Jim.|
Rule 1: If you believe it’s true, then say it, with these exceptions:
Rule 2: If it’s cruel, don’t say it.
Rule 3: If it’s about your school and it’s remotely critical, DON’T SAY IT. What are you, stupid? I presume you like working, and all the hot water and food it provides?
Rule 4: If it’s about any of the children you teach, ask permission before you include them, or don’t bother.
Rule 5: Always ask yourself- would I be happy with this being read out in the Head’s study, or at a parents evening?
Rule 6: Write things you’re proud of.
Rule 7: If you’re going to insult, swear or attack anything, make sexual comments or personal comments, then within limits, the law prescribes your freedom to do so. What will you do or say if your comments are repeated in school?
I pretty much write by these rules, and stand by what I write. I would probably advise you lay off the Pinot Grigio before you get online either. But that’s just practical advice in any context.