Anon or not anon?

This is a post on writing/tweeting or blogging anonymously….one I’ve been pondering awhile. However the debate has come into sharp focus with recent discussions about Secret Teacher and Quirky Teacher ; should they be saying what they are saying? (ST) and /or saying it well enough? (QT) However what seems to fascinate the most is that they choose to write incognito and won’t ‘come out’ on twitter or elsewhere to air their views publicly.

@Whatonomy has blogged amusingly ( but with a serious undertone) on the rights of all these people to stay in the shadows and I have to say I concur wholeheartedly. Now I am sure no one thinks that I am a cat (possibly catty!) *unfurls tail and twitches ears* but I did think long and hard about tweeting and blogging under my *real* name ….surprisingly it’s not jordyjax although Jordy is the name of a real cat…my real cat…..but decided against it.
Firstly, as a new tweep, I wasn’t sure what I could safely say without repercussions. …it’s hard to talk freely and look over your shoulder at the same time! Secondly, and most importantly for me, when I started blogging I realised I wanted to be able to speak out about issues of concern without drawing unwelcome attention to my PRU. Unlike primaries or secondaries the PRU world is relatively small; even saying ‘ the north ‘ narrows the field down considerably! I am a deputy and , as a senior manager, have a duty not to drag my PRU or my LEA into an arena which is mine not theirs.

Some would say why blog at all then? Well why would anyone tweet or blog? Does putting your name to something give it extra credibility? I am passionate about excluded children but if I can’t speak out there IS no point in speaking at all!! However I am equally passionate about retaining professional integrity when I speak. I am happy to give ‘the system’ both barrels but I don’t name individuals or schools…..of course I am critical but that is the nature of the world I work in! I am fighting for vulnerable young people and I am their voice….it is as simple as that! The adults can look after themselves!!

I don’t feel that being anonymous has hampered me on social media…it is my ability to empathise with those on the fringes and articulate my thoughts that is important not me! It’s not my wish to say to the world *hey look at me…Mrs X….aren’t I a caring person?* I’m more like a mushroom…..feed me sh*t and watch me grow tall in the shade!! However I don’t go out of my way to hide….I have met many tweeps and made good personal friends with some both on and off twitter. My HT knows I tweet and blog and has my handle, as do colleagues…hell Mike Cladingbowl knows me…I am very easy to find…I am relaxed in my (cat) skin!

The point is, even when anon, to tweet and blog as if your name was emblazoned on the ether!! I could ‘come out’ but there are risks….a headteacher not too far away became a minor celebrity and brought a no -notice ofsted inspection down on the school!! No thanks!! Better to stay out of the limelight where possible!!

Going back to ST and QT….they have the right to express their views and they have many readers/admirers ….I might not agree with what they say but I’d fight to the end to defend their right to say it….anonymously. Each person is different and some will rise above criticism which questions their motives or their integrity or even their syntax! I prefer to stand or fall with my dignity intact…and no I don’t always manage it, I am only human  after all! Feel free to tell me if I fall short of the standards expected in our profession! ( some have!! ).

There was a twitter chat last night where tweeps were asked who they would like to listen to at a conference; the lovely @Nichola80 said me amongst others….that’s fantastic…I prefer interest, respect as a fellow professional and to be thought of as someone who has something worthwhile to contribute to edu debate….not to court controversy and notoriety for five minutes of fame.