Sitting here in pjs at 7.20.

No one is up. Last night I fell into bed at 10 and left the kids up. I have no idea when they went to bed, but unsurprisingly they were obviously very quiet as they got ready for bed. (Unsurprisingly? The loud one who clumps his way through the house, banging doors and flushing toilets in the middle of the night has taken up an offer from his Dad to work every Saturday morning in the fruit shop, so he was absent. The other 3 boys are as quiet as mice when someone is asleep. It’s one reason why I’m fond of them.) Now the house is quiet and serene. The clock is ticking and Molly is snoring blissfully in her bed. It’s quite a nice way to start the weekend.

Thanks for all the interest in the poems, but I can’t put them up here, for a couple of reasons.

The first one is that one of the poems isn’t mine. It was written by an ex student who gave me permission to use it in classes, but she has long since graduated and left the school, so I have no way of contacting her.

The second reason is that is that it could quite easily lead to this blog being ‘outed’ by kids at the school, and then of course all the fun would stop and I’d probably have to shut it down. All they’d have to do is Google the first line and it’d pop up, and believe me; they’re more than capable of doing it. I have a Facebook page that I started in the holidays with my real name, which I’ve barely touched because I’m not quite sure what to do with it. In the second day of year 9 classes one of the boys asked me about it. (It’s all on private settings, but he’d gone on a search of his teachers, obviously.) I laughed and told the truth…. that I was a bit scared of it so I didn’t know much about it and we moved on, but it was a little strange… like someone had been following me… the cheeky little whippersnapper!

It’s on the agenda of the school to clamp down on all things cyber between students and teachers. At the last staff meeting we were cautioned about how parents and students could perceive us on line and to be very careful about the way we portray ourselves on line as it reflects the school as well as ourselves. Blogs were mentioned along with Facebook and myspace stuff, but because I have a blog persona I am ok. (Yes, my real name isn’t ‘Frogdancer’. My kids are not called Tom1, David2 etc in real life. I really don’t want my ex husband or the kids at school to find this blog, so even if someone uses my real name in the comments, as soon as I see it I go in and change it.) We were asked to be as private as possible if we wish to use these things and… (Maybaby will love this. A while ago she wrote that her principal in America told the staff the complete opposite)… we were NOT under any circumstances supposed to ‘friend’ a current student of the school on Facebook. Even the year 12s after they finish their final exams… with them we have to wait until the next calendar year until they are totally out of our care. We are in a position of power in our relationships with these children, and to admit them into our private lives could quite easily get problematic if someone gets their feelings hurt or something. We’re dealing with teens who have massive hormone rushes and who are usually not as savvy and mature as they like to think. (Come to think of it as I reread this before hitting ‘publish’, the same could be said for some of the staff…) The legal and moral ramifications involved are hideous enough to make your hair curl and of course no one wants this aggravation in their lives. So  there’s yet another reason to be as circumspect as possible.

The blend between private lives and public lives with students is a little less cut and dried in real life, of course. Many of the staff have kids who attend the school, so it’s nothing unusual for us to walk into our lounge rooms at the end of a long day, only to be greeted by “Hi Mum” and “Hi, Miss! Howyergoin’?” I live in the school zone, so every time I step outside my front door I run the risk of bumping into students. Some people say to me that they’d hate that, but it does have its benefits. For example, most fences in my street are tagged with graffiti. So far.. touch wood.. my big front fence is clear. It’s also nice to take the dogs to the leash free and have a quick chat with students and/or their parents. There’s quite a strong sense of community at the school, with even the ‘naughty’ kids being lovely to bump into as we’re all out and about. We all have a sense of being connected, which I think is a valuable thing to have.

Of course, the downside can be a little embarrassing. A couple of times I’ve had kids say to me in class, “Man! You were really screaming at one of your kids on Saturday! I was at Madeleine’s (who lives next door to me) and you were going nuts!”

What can you say to that? I usually say something like: “Why yes. Yes I was. He hadn’t done his English homework. Now where is yours, eh????”

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9 Responses to Sitting here in pjs at 7.20.

  1. fifi says:

    funny about the facebook thing. When I was leaving my teaching job the sobbing year nines asked if i would be their facebook friend, and I said not until they had finished school. Three years later, there they all were, waiting in the friend requests.
    Might i say, it has been an education and I certainly have enjoyed their gap years!!

    I used to live in the school zone. Worst thing is popping up in the surf next to a bunch of year 8 girls….errrrr

  2. saffronlie says:

    It’s definitely for the best that you keep your lives separate. Facebook blurs the lines because so many of its users seem to think it’s a private area and they don’t have to put a ‘public face’ on, you know? But if you don’t take care to fiddle with your privacy settings, a lot of what you do on Facebook will be public. I personally find it weird to be friends with me ex-high school teachers. I remember one who was insistent that we addressed her by her first name after graduation and it made me so uncomfortable (and then my friends’ parents wanted me to do the same, and my parents wanted my friends to do the same, and we were all just too polite!). A couple of my former students from when I taught drama have requested to add me on Facebook and I’ve added them back, but I find it weird. For me, Facebook is for friendships, and the teacher-student relationship is simply not a friendship.

  3. persiflage says:

    Yes, you are quite right, and it is important to separate the public and the private. I have not cottoned on to Facebook yet, but it enables me to keep in touch with extended family.

  4. maybaby says:

    Oh the irony!

    I’ve kept my sanity with Facebook by making sure that my students and their parents are not able to see my status updates. They see my comments or wall posts on someone else’s wall.

    And yesterday I blocked a parent on FB because I could. not. stand. the. whinging. anymore.

    That’s a whole post in and of itself. I’m very careful about my personal blog and none of my coworkers, admins, students or parents knows about it. I gave the url to my co teacher when she left in the fall and she checks in from time to time under a screen name. Hopefully I won’t have a “world’s collide” moment…my school is a small, private, non-denominational Christian school with very conservative parents. I’d be toast, for sure.

  5. Stomper Girl says:

    I definitely try to keep my blog and facebook identities separate although I wonder if some of my Real Life friends wonder why some people call me Stomper? Also, I don’t put my kids names up anywhere, can’t be too careful. And I make all online shots of the kids private after a couple of unknown freaks “favourited” a few shots.

  6. frog says:

    I try to keep mine separate, though as I say that I haven’t tested googling to see if a connection comes up. I had already decided that I wouldn’t use recognisable photos of the kids before I mentioned it to them. The eldest (10) sought reassurance on this point because he’s already net savvy enough to know it’s not a good idea.

    Which in turn freaked me out (how much did he know of why it wasn’t a good idea?) but it turns out that it had been explained to them at school in terms of protecting their privacy and not assuming that others wanted their lives made public.

    At least i have on hand my own net security advisor.

  7. moonspun says:

    I can see why you’d have to be careful with the lines between you and your students.

  8. Stacey says:

    I can totally relate to the screaming at the kids thing. My youngest son’s teacher this year was until recently our next door neighbour.
    I told her I thought she must go into the staff room and recount what she’s heard in the backyard. She was polite enough to say she’d never heard me yelling or the boys fighting. I don’t believe her, but it did make me like her even more.

  9. river says:

    One line jumped out at me. “…enough to make your hair curl and of course no-one wants tis aggravation…”
    WELL!! I had my hair cut (short, short) last month and for a week it was lovely. Since then little bits have been curling any which way they choose to and NOTHING will make it sit down like it’s supposed to. Aggravation indeed!

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