Wednesday, May 25, 2011

tiptoeing around; or, when you need to vent, but you shouldn't

I undertand how people get fired for things they say on their blog. Bloggers are writers. Writers process their experiences, emotions, their very lives through words. Some people can do this privately for themselves in a secret journal; but for some of us, these words are stories and they must be told. So, it is easy to see how a blogger could say too much or the wrong thing and cross an undrawn line. Blogs are still relatively new and the ettiquette is vague, at best. So, today this blogger is going to tell a story. If it seems lacking in details... that is on purpose.

It has been a hard, hard, hard year in my teaching. There has been student event after student event that needed handling. Legal things. Embarassing things. Ethical things. Sad things. A lot of things. Some of this became public, some much too public. And through it all, I did my best to handle my classroom, and the people in it to the best of my abilities. And really, I thought I had done a damn fine job. Then came yesterday. And an email. Sigh.

Sometimes, when people of any age are in situations of emotional duress they see things in a slanted way. A way that those standing a little less close can see in a calmer, straighter, different way. Who is to say which of these views is more true? Certainly not me. But, at times, it seems that our stories of our experiences can be florid and overwrought. So, when listening to such stories, I find it is always best to listen with calm. To try to avoid being caught up in the other's emotions. Especially, if you have to listen to more than one side.

So, if you find yourself listening to a single side from a crying girl it may be best to comfort her and say you understand. It is not a great idea to contact me with suggestions for how to teach. Because, it just may be offensive. An assumption that personal situations outside the classroom could somehow be alleviated with a better written syllabus is ridiculous, it trivializes my work as a teacher, counselor, and person. So, frankly, dear emailer. You can stuff it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Kat. I'm sorry to hear that you (and your students) have had to endure so much. I think, though, that this in part shows just how open you are to and with your students. I believe you'll be a teacher they'll remember and cherish, precisely because you don't stick to worrying about the most efficient way to put together a syllabus that will preclude any of these problems (as if that's possible). (I'm exhausted, so I hope I'm being coherent.)