Friday, November 06, 2009

I Am Warts

Every semester I have my kids do a Google check on their own names to see what sorts of things have popped up about them.

Some of the kids will find a story or two from athletics. Another may find a mention of the school play in the local online edition of the paper.

Others blanch with fear as they realize that Google is telling them that they have multiple personalities.

I can relate to the kids in this last category, because if you are like me, you have multiple personalities too.

Or is that 'multiple identities'. Or multiple...

Oh, I don't know. All I do know is that I've been online since 1992 and have the Google trail to prove it.

Which (segue) makes building a new website quite the endeavor.

See, what I want to do is create a sort of portal through which folks interested in my ed practice can enter an ed portal and folks who are interested in my art and music can enter there and folks who I'm teaching will have access to their own part of me and the historical re-enactment folks waiting for my wife and I to finish new garb for them will have their portal.

All these portals.

Because we are complex people.

And the teacher in me wants my students to know I'm complex people.

Because I want them to understand that they are complex people.

They are not only defined by lacrosse. Or the part in the school musical. Or the grade on the SAT. Or their legendary detentions-received-to-days-in-school ratio.

Rather, they are defined by these things and everything else that they do; all of these things in flux and boil and ever more and everyday becoming more and more present online -- present in all manner of complexity.

Because these students of ours are complex folks.

So -- in my own case (and in what I'd like to model for my own students) -- rather than try to segregate the parts of my identity and filter some of it away, I'm trying to bring it all together to tell a better story about the whole.

If I'm going to really 'own' my online identity, then I better think about how the whole thing fits together. Because I want my students to think about how their whole story fits together.

After all, the life not Googled isn't worth... (that's a paraphrase, not a prescription).

Nevertheless, I work on this new homepage. And I search my past online. And what I find tells me how far I've come and how varied my endeavors have been.

I find I'm a rather excitable poet (as a young man), a reclusive songwriter (as a not-as-young man), a guy who forgot to update his driver's license (apparently either an ad-vocation of my absent-mindedness or a premonition of my oncoming senility), and presently a lowly Latin teacher engaged in daily warfare (I use the term lovingly) against the likes of megalomaniacal international computer manufacturers and multi-million dollar sh[r]edding school systems.

Such is and will continue to be a life lived online.

We should not be afraid of such things. Rather, we should embrace the new transparency as a way to finally get beyond both the hierarchies of 19th century education (which apparently has continued in many a quarter) as well as a way to finally sheer off the Romantic notions of ourselves and our places in the world.

We are what we are. Warts and all.

Don't be afraid of the warts; rather, teach the kids the value of 'em.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed. We're a bundle of processes and procedures, stretched across time-space in a lot of different directions.

    I'm a poet, as anyone who digs deeply enough into my catalog of blog entries will discover (one of these days I have to go through and categorize and tag them in WordPress's formats). And I'm a roleplaying game designer. I'd like to be a historical re-enactor, or at least a LARPer, though my window of opportunity may have passed. I'm a photographer, as my Flickr account will show. I build slideshows, as my account will show. I even used to keep a journal online, at LiveJournal and before that at Diaryland. And then there are my eight podcasts on iTunes... I'll get back to that project someday.

    If I can get my rockstar careeer going one of these days, I will — leather pants and all. The business of being a teacher in the 19th and 18th century meant living a very rigid life within tightly constrained boundaries; but a teacher in the 21st century should be a broadly creative mind. How do we train that mind in our teachers' colleges, and how do we train that mind in our existing schools?

    A whole 'nother topic, one which will have to wait for another comment, or blog entry.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.