This blogging stuff is potentially dangerous business.
I blog under a pseudonym. While I’m relatively certain that someone with the desire, a passing capacity for deduction, and a little bit of time would be able to figure out who I am in real life, I try to go at least a little out of my way to stay anonymous. I change the names (and sometimes the genders) of the people I refer to in my writing, I try not to get too specific about where I live, and I make sure I don’t bring my blog up in conversations where I don’t want that information overheard. I reveal my true self only to people I absolutely trust and, with only one exception, that policy has paid off handsomely.
The truth of the matter is that my one exception was a doozie. I’ve been burned by my blogging. I lost an internship because one of my cooperating teachers didn’t like how I wrote about my experiences under her guidance (and how I felt about those experiences). While I was careful to be vague about who I was talking about on the blog – no one reading could know that I was actually talking about her – she knew I was talking about her because I’d been honest and told her, before I ever set foot in her classroom, that I kept an online journal. Until I disagreed with her, she was fine with it (and, just as an aside, it turns out that losing that internship was the best thing that ever happened to me during the whole of my graduate career, but that’s another story). What I’m saying is that I’m over it, but the experience taught me to be very, very careful about my blog and who knows about it.
I’ve taken a couple of risks lately, though, but strangely, given my past experiences, I don’t feel at all uneasy about them. Three people at CHS know that I keep this space; my boss (who I’m relatively certain doesn’t read; I don’t think she’s got the time, though I DO print out some of my reflections for her so they can go in my file), the music-teacher-slash-tech-guy (who happens to be the boss’s fiancee and is, to use the native parlance, frickin’ awesome. Hi, Bob!), and the other day, I told Kiki.
Kiki is the first student who I’ve told about my blog*. I told her for a couple of reasons; 1. I trust her. She’s smart and thoughtful and I knew that if I asked her to keep it quiet (which I did), that she would (and she will), 2. She’s graduating in a couple of weeks (sniff!) and so, technically, won’t be a student anymore – at least, not of mine (sniff!), and 3. I’m terribly proud of her and have been writing about her for a while now, and I wanted to share that with her. I know what it does to me to overhear people saying nice things about me behind my back, and I wanted to let Kiki know that I think she’s wonderful, and that I’ve always thought so.
My girl is experiencing all the crazy, whirled-up emotions that come with transitioning into “the rest of your life.” She’s graduating high school, and while she’s really excited about it (as well she should be), she’s also more than a little freaked out. She’s looking down the barrel of college (she’s going to own it, but she doesn’t really believe that right now), and she’s worried about leaving the familiar for what comes next.
I told Kiki about my blog not only so that I could offer her a little bit of very public (though entirely anonymous) praise, but my reasons were also selfish; I don’t want to lose her, and I told her about this space because I knew that she’d haunt it. It was a way to make sure the only time I get to “see” her after the first week in June isn’t just when she comes back to CHS to visit.
*to be fair, a couple of my TCC students knew about my blog (maybe even Will, now that I think about it) because they were smart enough to look up “Mrs. Chili” on the internet – at the very beginning of my tenure with TCC, I only had the mrschili email address, so that’s what I gave them. I very quickly remedied that situation, though; I was, after all, writing about them. My point is that Kiki is the first student I gave my blog to, and that – at least for me – means a lot.