To be… or to be professional? That is the question.

Something I am struggling with in relation to blogging is the question of voice. What ‘voice’ should I use when I create these posts that potentially anyone in the world could see? Am I writing as myself, full of wit, sarcasm, and run on sentences? Or should I be taking a more professional approach to writing in such an open audience- you know, just in case? Who is my audience, and who am I when I begin typing into my blog post? Student, teacher, self?

Obviously it’s up to me to decide what tone and level of professionalism I take on through my writing. But I am finding it more of a struggle than it should be. I get so caught up with this that I am paralyzed when I attempt to begin a new post. And why is that? I believe a lot of it stems from the fact that I am a pre-teacher. As a pre-teacher, it has been drilled into my being that I am entering a field where I will be held to a higher degree of professionalism. I must always act professionally, whether at school, at the local restaurant, or online, because I am always being judged. This feels like a daunting task- especially because I like to be silly, I like to joke, and yes sometimes I even say and do things before thinking them through. But should you judge me for this?  As far as I know, this is what it means to be human. One cannot always be perfectly professional. But from the sense I get entering the teacher profession, this is what is expected. Was it always this way? Or is this the heightened need for accountability leeching out past the classroom into our everyday lives?

Ok, now back to the point about blogging as a pre-teacher. I have spent almost as much time going back into my previously written posts and editing them so as to sound more professional, and better thought out, as I have spent time creating new posts. Is this true blogging?

And that brings up a new question, what does it mean for the writing itself if I am always able to edit it? Does it loose or gain value in its fluidity?

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3 responses to “To be… or to be professional? That is the question.

  • Jabiz Raisdana

    Great post. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. I have been teaching for over ten years and I still struggle with the balance of who I am and who I am meant to be as a teacher. There is such pressure on us, more so than many professions, to be perfect role models. We are meant to act, think and even dress a certain way. (What does wearing a tie have to do with good teaching anyway?)

    Enter digital media that allows us to share so much of ourselves online and forever. What are we meant to do? For me, it has been a long journey of figuring out. I have had close calls, direct disasters, and a great many success, the short answer is that you will never please everyone and you will always offend someone. I say stay true and honest to who you are and your value system. Share things that reflect your values and be consistent and honest.

    I always imagine that I would need to sit and defend any thing I post online with parents, teachers, administrators and even students. Sometimes, I push the envelope, but I always hope that what i am sharing is painting another shade of who I am.

    It is a tricky business for sure. Take your time. Ask questions. and at the end of the day be yourself! Hope that helps a little.

  • deborahnikkel

    I think it’s simply a matter of using the kind of humour that would be considered appropriate for children. You don’t have to lose your sense of humour and silliness, but keep in mind that students will be watching you and perhaps imitating you. There are boundaries, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being yourself.

  • hchev

    @Jabiz Raisdana Thank you. It’s good to hear that even experienced educators are struggling with this issue. Its clear that this concern hasn’t held you back (I checked out a few of your blogs, well done!), even when you had those close calls, which I think is reassuring for us/me (the new generation of teachers).

    @deborahnikkel Oh I would most definitely agree that the humour I will use with the children will be very different from my personal humour. I have ample experience turning the switch from adult, to teacher as far as appropriateness and professionalism goes. But really what I’m trying to address through this post is that as educators the expectation of our professionalism doesn’t end when we leave the school. I wonder how can I balance that need for professionalism and the desire to be who I am (specifically in this example), through the net and through my blogs. Your writing style is confident and frank. Other bloggers who are in our class write very tentatively, phrasing everything ‘just so’, so that almost no one would find offense to it. I am struggling with this and whether I can let go and embrace an honest tone, or whether I must remain conservative.

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