A Conflict of Interest

30 Jul

Those of you who’ve been following me on the blogosphere know that this WordPress blog of mine is a fairly new venture. I started this blog in the hopes that it would be a more “serious” blog where I could discuss my teaching and writing, possibly even sharing some writing samples with people who would give me constructive and honest feedback. The problem I’m encountering now is that it seems like these two areas of my life (my teaching and my writing) a posing a conflict of interest for me.

A couple of days ago, I sat down to type up a vignette I had written awhile back that I had recently unburied from the depths of our garbage heap office. I had it typed up and was about to hit that little blue “publish” button, when I had to stop and reconsider. The piece I had written included some drug use, and while I love the piece, I couldn’t help but think the following: “This is a public blog. I’m searching for teaching jobs. What if someone finds my blog, sees my references to drug use, and thinks it’s inappropriate content for a teacher?” As ridiculous as this seems, especially considering the “fictional writing” tag I was using, this is a legitimate concern for teachers today.

There are countless articles in the newspapers today of teachers being fired for having Facebook photos showing them drinking an alcoholic beverage (like this one, for example), even though the teachers in question are of legal age. I even recall a news story where a teacher was fired for having a picture on her desk in which her neck tattoo was visible. If I’m remembering correctly, the school deemed it inappropriate for a teacher, who is supposed to be a role model, to have tattoos. It pains me to think that my blog and my twitter account, which are deeply personal and in no way reflect my abilities as a teacher, would be enough to prevent a school from hiring me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately. What I really want to say is, “Screw ’em. If they are willing to use a piece of fictional writing or my legal and appropriate personal life against me, then they’re not the right fit for me anyway.” But can I really afford to be that picky?


4 Responses to “A Conflict of Interest”

  1. Ali July 30, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    I think it’s a tough area to navigate. I’ve seen some of the lawsuits and reasons teacher’s have been fired. One, if I remember right, had a picture on her FB book (which was private) of her wearing a bikini. (This also brings to mind a double-standard. What if that had been a wearing, wearing a bathing suit? Somehow, I don’t think a fuss would’ve been made.)

    In my heart, I want to say: screw ’em. Because I believe a school should stand behind their teachers — both present and future. I don’t believe that teachers shouldn’t have lives. And fiction is fiction. If a school system can’t understand the difference, we’re in a sad state.

    Great post..

    • Andrea August 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

      Thank you. I agree with you wholeheartedly. In some of these cases, I almost wonder if the picture or the tattoo or whatever it was happened to be the straw that broke the metaphorical camel’s back. I like to think that if it was an awesome teacher, the school and the district would’ve understood how ridiculous those reasons for firing were.

  2. lisa karn July 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    you be who you are, which is a person of deep integrity, morals, values and strength, any school, parent, principal; would be lucky to have you be a teacher for them. Everyone has a personal life, and yours is not exactly a showcase of teenage blunder, as a matter of fact you were a model for most your age. So, I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.

    • Andrea August 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks for commenting and for the compliments Mom! I really appreciate it!

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