Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blogging Lesson Learned

I'm thinking that I'm going to have to be done with the internet for a while. It seems that I just can't read things without getting upset and I really need a less stressful zone. Although I know that's really what blogs are about- eliciting an emotional response and venting.

What's really getting to me tonight is how a small incident, a minor less-than-stellar teaching performance can bring out all the anti-public school advocates. Today, I was over at one of my favorite blogs Motherhood Uncensored where she was writing about a comment the teacher wrote on the top of her daughter's paper. It was an example of poor feedback but nothing to really get up in arms about as an isolated thing. However, the comments, as usually happens for Mom Bloggers, were all cries of outrage. There were comments about choosing to homeschool/change schools because of incidents like this. Feeling a need to offer an alternative to the fast and furious, heading over the deep end trek, I commented. I commented with what I felt was a reasoned and logical explanation for the teacher's feedback.

In the end, it changed nothing. I was seen as the pro-establishment voice and uninformed reader. It just saddens me that one isolated incident of subpar teaching could be used to motivate many other parents (she has quite a readership) to view any kind of "standard" education as injurious to a child's well-being.

I guess in the end I am pro-public schools. As a teacher for 6 years and the daughter of a 30 year veteran, it's expected. That's not to say I don't think there are bad policies, bad teachers, and bad practices. I just think public education like many local news and blog worthy stories tends to only gather notice when it stumbles and, in addition, I happen to think that kids are a lot more resilient than we, as mothers, think them to be.

Either way, lesson learned: Don't mess with a mommy when she's in venting mode with a loyal audience.


Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Recently, I heard a blog described on NPR as a community that agrees with each other. Or something like that.

It's so true. All the talk of "it's my space, if you don't like it, leave," foster only the part of the community of agreement. That's not a community, that's a following.

I find it really sad that people don't see the difference between a dissenting opinion and a troll, but they don't. If you don't agree with the vocal majority, then you don't deserve a voice. It's ridiculous.

Here's my dissenting opinion :) Stick around, please. The more voices of reason we have, the more valuable the community is.

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Okay, I broke a cardinal blogging rule - I commented before I read. I assumed (ass, blah, blah) that the other commenters attacked you like a pack.

Here's my take. It didn't read as bad as it feels. It read to me like a conversation. Like you gave an opinion and Kristen answered back to it. They happen to be opinions that you are both very passionate about though, and that's a spark for a flame in blog comments.

I think what is often overlooked in situations like these is that people have a far deeper reason for their passions that just the one post that was read. Every comment is a reaction to the post, all the comments read about the post before commenting, and the person's own personal experience.

I've been where you are right now, and it's a sucky feeling. But I think you were both just passionately defending your positions, and that it's alright.

Can I follow all of that up with a IMHO?

Chelsea + Jonathan said...

I was thinking about this after reading your post this morning and I think that most bloggers just want people to agree with them, no matter what they're saying. I guess that's okay because it can be difficult to have a real conversation about sensitive issues when you're typing that conversation with time delays and all. But it can definitely be frustrating.

I'm with you on the public schools front. And kids can certainly be resilient - but we have to give them opportunities to develop resilience, and that won't happen if we're always there to rescue them. I know you know that too though :) So, I agree.

Jen said...

People - especially moms - are passionate, and when you add in anonymity of the internet I think sometimes people come across as less respectful than they would if you had the conversation in person. I love a good debate, but it definitely sucks when you're the one that feels attacked (I've so been there).

As a parent, I am passionate regarding public school - and I worry that home schoolers and private schoolers are taking away great opportunities for learning life lessons by not putting their children in public school. But of course that's just my humble opinion.

@sweetbabboo said...

You know, Marty, it wasn't so much my feeling like I was attacked because I really wasn't. It was more the overreaction in the other comments regarding an issue that, yes, I do feel passionately about and then Kristen's insinuated reference to my being a troll simply for my dissenting opinion. I have commented there, on Mominatrix, and Twitter numerous times (usually agreeing with her) and just felt slighted by the insinuation.

It doesn't really matter and I shouldn't let it bother me. It's just a single post regarding a single incident with a single teacher. It is nothing more.

I do LOVE the NPR description of a blog in your first comment. It is so true that on our blogs, we are looking for like-minded readers to support us. I mean who doesn't like to feel right all the time?!? I think that's why blogs become semi vacant during the political season... no one can agree entirely on all things political.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The school debate seems as poltically and emotionally charged as abortion, doesn't it? I rarely comment on the topic for good reasons (and like you, I'm pro-public). Sorry that left such a bad taste in your mouth.

juniandpip said...

Ugh. Well, you already know where I stand. Would go leave a "Hell yeah, what Abby said!" in the comments on the other blog, but then she'd just accuse me of something else.

I particularly agree with you that people (not just the blogger, but more all the commenters) are really quick to point the finger at teachers and blame them for all sorts of things -- it's no wonder that you felt the need to come to the teacher's rescue. As I've ranted before, it's just not that simple -- if there were a really easy way to make teachers, principals, school board members, taxpayers, parents and students all happy all of the time, don't you think we would have tried it by now?


corrie said...

Not much to say here, except that I am already a part of the "community that agrees with you!" Maybe she was just hard up for a blog topic, so she had to blow some silly (though agreeably not stellar) worksheet comment all out of proportion. Not that there aren't some crummy teachers out there (public, private, AND homeschoolers), but sometimes you have to pick your battles. A parent like that is never going to be happy--she's already made up her mind on the public school front, it sounds like. And, if she keeps her child there, it will just give her plenty of fodder for her blog.

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

I swear, the blogosphere sometimes feels like you're navigating a middle school locker room...waaay too many hormones flowing around. I've noticed that *any* discussion becomes heightened. Everything is polar and the middle ground isn't even considered an option. Black and shades of grey.

I personally, because of my experience teaching high school and college, and my own and my teen's experiences in the public schools, will be homeschooling my youngest two. But shoot, that's *my* choice. Homeschooling isn't for everyone....and there are some fabulous public schools out there, if you're fortunate enough to live in those districts. But some public schools are deplorable...and guess what? Some homeschools are deplorable too. There simply isn't a blanket statement that's best or right for everyone.


Try not to let it get you too bothered. There are some sane bloggers out there who don't buy the pack mentality ;)