Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I must have picked up another cold on campus last Thursday, because by that evening, I felt like crap. Friday I had unpleasant sinus symptoms. I'm still not sure if it was a cold or just my sinuses acting up, but since so many students on campus are sick, I'm leaning toward a cold. We didn't let it keep us from going to Samsonville. It was the first weekend we'd been there since Martin Luther King day weekend. The ride home on Sunday was a h-ll ride, pouring rain which turned to ice just as we arrived in Castleton. Monday was spent shoveling - the most difficult of the winter, believe it or not. Thick ice covered by heavy snow. It was like cement and had to be broken up first. It was cold and windy, too. What a winter! It is beautiful though.

I'd like to write more here on the subject of education. I share as much as I am comfortable with writing publicly. Sigh. Once again, I think about the paper journal of days gone by. Since 2002, when I started this blog, from time to time I've thought about trying the private approach again for some subjects, but I have not done it. The positives of this site are that I have continuously maintained it for nine years, and I think the longest break in posting has been a week. That's amazing.

I have never successfully done that with a private journal, whether paper volume or word processor document. I've kept a journal for various reasons and using different approaches throughout my life, until age 40, sometimes intensely writing regularly, while other times there would be long silences. In 2002 I started this blog, and since then the only private journal I have kept are from class observations (brief notes on student presentations and performance in my classes, and notes from my consulting about K-12).

The downside to this approach is that it is self-censored. So are private journals to some degree (at least after the age of 20 anyway) but it isn't anywhere near as much. It's funny because my audience is not large. Yet it still requires censoring.

There used to be a debate on blogs about whether the public nature was stifling, and if so, whether self-censoring was a good or bad idea. Was it necessary to do it? Did it stomp out "truth," however defined? Should a pseudonym be adopted? To me, then and now - that it is stifling is a no-brainer, but that can be both good and bad. Even when I wrote a private journal, I would ask myself if I was comfortable with someone finding it and reading it someday. While I definitely had more freedom to be expressive on all subjects using that tool, I did start leaving behind the teenage angst pretty quickly after considering the question. That was good. No one cares, not even me.

Stifling out voice, though, is another issue. That's bad. For instance, not writing on some subjects in education because of my professional responsibilities. This is similar but not quite the same as censoring details when writing a short story for print publication, to avoid hurting someone. Changing names to protect the guilty, so to speak. With the story you can craft it and claim fiction. That's not the case with a journal.

The debate seems settled at this point? I think most people have concluded good or bad it is necessary to self-censor, and that using a pseudonym is no guarantee of anonymity.

Have to write a midterm! Lots to do.

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