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Teacher’s persona and blogs

May 3, 2007

Since my  last post, I have been thinking about my persona as a teacher.  I say persona since the person that I present myself in the classroom is not exactly the same person I am outside the classroom.  In the classroom, I am almost extroverted, but outside the classroom I am introverted, having struggled with shyness from my youth and often lost the struggle. 

With this preface in mind, I realize that to successfully build the type of blogging effort I understand to be optimal from what I read about in posts on blogging, I need to change.  It seems that it is important to blog with the students not as an expert nor as a somewhat distant figure.  Instead, it seems that the blogging should be done almost as a peer.  But how can I do that without feeling artificial and being artificial?

I also am not comfortable revealing a great deal about myself online even though I do reveal some of my private self in class.  I sometimes use my own failures as a stepping stone to discussing how I learned something.   For example, I often tell my students that I never really understood fragments until I took a graduate school linguistics class when all of the sudden fragments made sense.  From how they made sense to me, I try to show them how they can make sense of them.  I also use this story to tell them that I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect them to keep trying, and I will keep trying with them and not get tired of explaining because learning frequently doesn’t happen the first or second time we encounter something new or even old.

Still I am more comfortable handling my foibles in a classroom thanking my students for setting me straight than I am doing the same in a blog.  So I am still not sure what persona I should take on when blogging with my class.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2007 2:28 pm

    When I started reading your post I thought you were talking about me! I guess the introverted person becoming an extroverted teacher isn’t as uncommon as I thought!

    As to blogging with your students, I can’t really speak from experience because I haven’t done it in the way you are. But I don’t think it has to be a problem. If the topic is something you don’t want to write about, why should your students have to write about it? Some of them are probably more introverted than you are. Topic choice is the most difficult part of blogging really. You have to care about the topic to do a good job. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to share your deepest, darkest secrets.

    I agree that the blogging teacher has to step down from the all-knowing teacher role if he/she is going to be effective. Part of the reason for that, I think, is to make the blogging authentic. You have be a real person and come across through your blog as a real person if you want anyone to read what you write.

    I’ll be interested to see how you work on this problem. I certainly don’t have any answers.

  2. May 5, 2007 4:48 am

    I’m also more extroverted in my classroom than in other public arenas. Reflection suggests that my shyness depends on whether I have something to say or not, which I think is very much what blogging is about. So maybe we need to focus on encouraging our students to write about stuff that matters to them and about which they feel they can be authoritative.

    I don’t think you will need to change necessarily to blog. I don’t know that blogs can be judged extro or intro-vert – more on having an authentic voice, which can be questioning, but also evaluative in terms of choosing what and what not to say.


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