Courting controversy

I wrote a blog this week. That’s nothing new, I’ve been blogging quite a lot since I decided to get into teaching. My blog is a personal, diary-like account of my experiences and thoughts, documenting my journey. It’s an opportunity to also network with and learn from other people in education. I usually get a handful of readers for each blog, and the occasional retweet.

I didn’t think this week’s instalment would be any different. I wrote about my visit to the amazing Michaela free school in Wembley. Lots of people before me have visited and sung its praises, so I didn’t think my contribution would attract particular attention except a “like” or two from the Michaela teachers. I was not prepared, therefore, for the Twitter storm that followed.

Perhaps I was unwise to mention certain people by name. A threat of legal action against me for defamation is not something I want to read about during my lunch break at school. Needless to say, the rest of my day was rather fraught with anxiety. How vicious the world of education can be! Why such bullying tactics?

I’m not into ad hominem attacks on people, but those two names just sprang up in my mind when I thought of the wall of critical resistance against those traditional principles of education espoused by Michaela school. It wasn’t, as was claimed, an allegation that the person had criticised the school specifically, but a criticism of a general attitude against those traditional principles, such as “no excuses”.

So, I am chastened.  I will have to be a bit more circumspect in future. However, I will carry on blogging because my truth needs to be said. I am in a position of relative strength at the moment because I’m not financially reliant on the meagre LSA’s salary I earn. I take particular care not to name my school when I write but there is a freedom in being able to speak out in my blog about what I see. In any case, I’ll be starting at a new school in September for my Schools Direct teacher training. It may be then that I scale back on the honest, “warts and all” approach.