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Catch 22

Maryland School Staffer Speaks Out About Tweet Gets Her Fired 

The hyperlinked article (provided) came from a friend and I was neither shocked nor agreeable.  This lack of emotion is unusual for me.  But then again, I know the game.  I know the audiences on both sides and I choose to ever so quietly back out of the room before I am noticed.  There isn’t a distinct possibility of being “right” for anyone.

What I know…

  • Social Media rules the lives of billions of people, places and things -yes things.

It’s like a noun which encompasses all verb related forms of communications.  Most people are attracted to the simple and quick nature of the beast.  Parents use cell phones and social media to keep communication between them with their children.

Elementary aged children usually carry cellphones for games, music or basic status symbols.

Teens are truly hard-wired to fixate all intellectual discourse through the various internet/cellular medium.  This means, if there is a problem, they just google it.  If they want to see a music video, they go to YouTube or another favorite site.  It’s simply a matter of typing, saying or thinking about something and getting an instant response.  The match for a curious mind is out “there” for the Miners.

Yes, there is so much information available at a moment’s notice (which is never perceived identically -we are human you know) that those who are in charge of all information (past and present with predictors for future behaviors) now; keep it in a “Data-Mine”.  

Thus the Miners are you and me, banks and churches, government and shoe designers, here and far.  No one being knows how much or what else we know thanks to these Data-Mines.

I digress.  

The public view of teachers and preachers is a whole other level of rules.  …teachers are supposed to either be at home fast asleep, planning their lessons, or resting so that they can start the next day bright eyed and energetic.  Or if it is after the last bell they should just be finishing up at the school getting all needed materials ready in her classroom (35 students).  

I mean, that’s what “they” do, right?  They start their days feeling like they can change anything “bad” into good.  They use their minds and hearts with each move and thought.  These folks work for mere pennies and are trying to keep up with other countries to be competitive.  Countries with completely different attitudes toward education and government input.  They are supposed to be angels.  They are not allowed to get frustrated, judgmental, or antidisestablishmentarianism.  Right?  Talk shows love them.  Hell, Shutterfly is just pouring out money to teachers.  Good, humble, miracle worker, teachers.  They are held in such high regard that they have unspoken rules… Until your child is in their class.  After that, teachers become bullies, over stressed and purposely mean to your child.  That’s when the gloves come off.  (Bell).

Unspoken Rules:  

  • The general public should/would never see a teacher or preacher sitting at a bar.  And if they did, an explanation or rumor is quick to surface.  
  • Teachers and Preachers have a place in towns everywhere -not socializing with the rest of the population.  
  • Teachers must only socialize with other school staff members.

So this particular staff member of digital communications in Maryland, communicated with a student digitally, by responding to an audience -of no discretion, in a tone which is common to the intended recipient.  There was no harm, secrecy or foul here.  

It isn’t like s/he uses Twitter for rants.  Our new President of the United States of America is a firm advocate for Twitter.  But I don’t really think that Twitter or a single tweet is to blame.    So what is?

Freedom of Speech?  Fear of Freedom of Speech?  That is until the parents and administration became involved.  The student who was originating the post did not complain formally or otherwise after reading the staff member response.  So why, (forgive me) the hell did this become a “thing”?  Honestly, has anyone’s or the school’s integrity been questioned?  Social Media allows for inclusion, ’tis the true nature of the beast.  Quips are jargon of Twitter.

I’m guessing that an individual (other than the intended two)  poked their nose into something that they would otherwise have no interest,  read it, became disgruntled (-perhaps from a person who communicated similarly and was disciplined) contacted the Administration which forced a formal reprimand.  Then others both in and out of the district system were able to breathe life into this and the damage was done.


The staff member said something which was implying that this particular post is a ridiculous reason for all of the protocol in a condescending manner to the Administration or whomever.  S/he would  have said what more teachers really think.  Quoth Arthur Miller from The Crucible… “We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! ”

The bottom line (in my opinion) is that adults in the field of Education must tread lightly.  They are truly at the disadvantage.  In this case it wasn’t in the classroom or on school property.  It was in a murky situation that has yet to be a universal standard (no common sense needed).  This is an unfortunate situation which was taken out of context and became superfluous.  

I guess now teachers and school staff understand that Social Media is not meant for them.  Teachers need to follow the teacher/preacher precedent… just turn on their local PBS channel, pull on your night gown and rest peacefully.  That big ol’ world out there is just crazy you know.  Teachers on Twitter?!  Humor?  Sarcasm?  

As a retired teacher I have seen these situations popping up more and more, thus ruining careers of highly skilled and educated humans who have spent their whole lives learning how to teach each child the latest curriculum -which, ironically includes Digital Citizenship, and then spend close to a month proctoring tests to prove themselves.  

No one will get anything special for doing exceptionally well or even doing regularly well.  The hammer will come down on those who are average (normal) and below, until someone acknowledges….  ugh.  Just ugh.

Oh!  One more thing, every test score is now being added to the Data-Mines with -believe it or not, every tweet and social media post (emotions included).  Not sure why, but they are.

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