Second life

I've been thinking about this issue for a while and recent conversations with my esteemed e-colleague at work have got me to focus a little more tightly on the issue.

A while back Intrepid teacher got fired from his job as a teacher and >>>posted up a blog on his edublog<<<, entitiled "To prospective Employers:"

I'll just quickly quote what he said, because I find myself in a similar position:

To Prospective Employers:

If you are reading this post, then you have most likely already read my cover letter, perused my resume, and now are probably left asking yourself why such an experienced, passionate teacher would resign from his current position. Below you will find my explanation:


This past year, I realized that I was making a name for myself in the Edublogosphere, so I thought it would be a good idea to finally connect my personal and professional lives. I wrote a brief post explaining the rationale for making this connection, but have since removed the post, as well as the link, because of the trouble it has caused me and my family. I want to make it clear that I never directly linked my personal blog and the thoughts on it to a site where my students would have direct access to them, because frankly the ideas I write about- life, art, politics, and religion amongst other things- need to be made more objective for a young audience. I never invited, mentioned, or encouraged my students to read my personal blog. As far as I know, except for a few students who may have independently investigated me on the Internet, very few of them knew I even had a personal site.


In an attempt to be open and honest with parents and administrators, I simply tried to make the connection from professional and personal, so that should they Google me or find out that I do have a personal space- where I share my writing- they would not be surprised. I shake my head as I type these words, because by the sound of it you would think that my personal site is filled with offensive material, when in fact, I am actually quite proud of the work I do there. I have never done or said anything that was not aimed toward my personal evolution as a caring and passionate human being, artist, and teacher. I actually wanted parents and administrators to see the side of me. I was a bit nervous to expose the site should someone find offense to any particular post. Unfortunately, this transparency proved to be the cause of my current predicament.

The situation I find myself in is not quite the same. I didn't get my contract renewed and no reason was ever given then in protest at my poor treatment by the management I refused to give them any more of my extra work for free. I got fired with immediate effect.

I heard a rumour though that one of the pupils had seen this blog, which he found by googling my name and a number of my colleagues have given me warnings to watch out for this sort of thing. If you try it you'll see that this blog comes up third.

So the issue is this. I've never guided my pupils to this site, never hinted at it and don't want them looking at it if at all possible. That's not because I have anything to hide, I'm an open teacher, I tell a lot of these stories to my pupils in class, but I never set the blog up for pupils. It was always meant to be a vent for my obsessive writing about anything at all and was to be read by my mates or any new friends I might make on the net and as such my sense of humour went through the filter of friends eyes.

I've been blogging since 2002 and teaching since 2004. I've been working on the internet in some form or other for at least twice as long as I have been a teacher and my name is all over the web in some form or other.

As much as I can I've tried to keep my personal blogging endeavours and my professional life apart, but being human of course I rant about whatever humans rant about and I occasionally talk about how shit work is, though never mentioning the place of work.

I'm not sure if this has contributed to my downfall at my last place of work, but as you can see from the last post, I done my job to the best of my abilities. The management never had the decency to give me a reason for my dismissal.

However, when thinking about this, I realised that my web persona is as large and important a part of my personality as my real life persona and these days. When people can meet other people and have relationships entirely online, learning, working and playing together without necessarily having ever to meet, the establishment of an online life becomes a public issue and in turn it is accessible on a professional level too, whether you like it or not.

I probably spend as much time online engaged in leisure activities as I do with professional issues, and you all know I'm into e-learning so I use the web a helluva lot.

As such I view the web as a domain in which I must feel that I am comfortable, and so I come across as I am in real life.

Yeah I'm a joker and I make politically incorrect jokes. I'm fairly sociable, I like a drink and I just can't seem to get girls in bed, that's the same online as it is in real life.

But on the other hand when it comes to teaching and learning, I am the model professional, I work day and night to make sure that my pupils learn, I put together mountains of resources and I make damn sure that each and every pupil gets the individual attention that they need to succeed.

That's the same online as it is in real life too.

However, the difference is that in real life, when you leave the school (VLE) the pupils can't then go and google everything that you'd say down the pub to your mates (this blog)

So what am I supposed to do?! I'm not about to stop blogging just because I now work.

On reflection I realised that there is actually only one thing that I can do. I've blogged and worked on the net under my real name for years and so it's inevitable that I'd get "rumbled" as having a real life sooner or later no matter what I do.

So my virtual life IS me as far as the rest of the world is concerned when they look.

The only solution then is a rather radical one.

In future I will have to change my REAL name when I go into work and work under a pseudonym!

Absurd I know but what other solution is there!

Any suggestions of new names or disguises I can use in the comments below please...

blog comments powered by Disqus