Friday, November 12, 2010

Do You Smudge the Lines?

Note: This article featured on on 11/18/2010.

Do you smudge the lines that divide personal life from work life? Jeff Utecht certainly does! Here's how he describes the blurring of boundaries, which some might characterize as just plain wrong:
Today at school I answered personal e-mail, updated my Facebook status, Tweeted, looked up flights for winter break, and even read articles that didn’t pertain to school...What really is happening is the line between our work life and our social life is becoming blurred more and more every day.
Obviously, Jeff has some freedom that many educators do NOT enjoy. In Wes Fryer's keynote address (listen to it via his blog), you can hear him share stories of how some of those freedoms are denied teachers in Oklahoma...and it's not necessarily different in schools in other parts of the United States.

Blurring the lines, as Jeff puts it, can have profound consequences. While it's easy to ignore the consequences of action (e.g. expulsion for students, termination, maybe even legal action), we've seen in the Media that improper usage can have severe consequences.

Maybe, though, we need to ask ourselves if those severe consequences don't come about because we aren't using these tools in schools. This kind of thinking..."You know, the reason we're having trouble with people shooting themselves in the foot is because gun usage isn't discussed in schools." Maybe we could all take advantage of free tutorials (e.g. GCFLearnFree via Using ICT in Further Education).

If Wes Fryer finds himself bemoaning the fact that parents aren't to be trusted non-CIPA-compliant Internet devices--even though he is a certified educator and well-known public speaker, while Jeff U finds himself flaunting the rules that would get him TERMINATED/FIRED in U.S. schools, or at the least, written up, imagine the freedom that Clay Burell enjoys in shuttling illegal DVDs from one country to another.
I was at the [name withheld to protect the guilty heavensent] airport’s arrival gate, sweating bullets, because I’d packed my Collection in my suitcases instead of shipping them with my furniture.  I’d been told the odds of getting them in were higher this way. Picture two large suitcases stuffed with more DVDs than clothes....
What's funny about Clay's story is the trust given to him by airport customs official when he is caught with contraband, another reason he would be terminated in U.S. schools. The response from the Customs Officer is worth clicking on the link.

Do you smudge the lines? As you reflect on your response and what the consequences are for taking action--legal or not--consider Ms. Ripp's (Blogging through the 4th Dimension) poem below, edited for length:

I am the reform when I trust other teachers.
I am the reform when I trust in others.

I am the reform when I am not afraid.
I am the reform when I listen and I speak.
I am the reform when I believe.
Are you the reform?

Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
Subscribe to Around the

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Clay said...

Hi M,

One of the funnier things I've read lately, this description of "shuttling" instead of "relocating." It fed the Walter Mitty in me for sure: from teacher moving from country A to B to, instead, international pirate who smuggles for a living. Fun.

I'm trying to figure out the point of the post, though.

Is it that Jeff, Wes, and I are "plain wrong" and should be "TERMINATED/FIRED", or is it that the US is wrong for being so restrictive?


Miguel Guhlin said...

Clay, must have been my Catholic school education manifesting itself, offering neither answer as THE response.

So, read it either way--you should be terminated for doing what is illegal in the U.S., or the U.S.' restrictions are plain wrong.

Now, why do you think so?


The Courage to Lead