I often think that Twitter is not a true reflection of all teachers who work in all types of school. I’ve never seen any tweets saying ‘Today I had a chair thrown at me by a year 9’ or ‘I broke up a fight with two year 11 boys’.
Instead I see ‘Look at the fantastic work my year 7 group did today’ or ‘Congrats to our football team for winning their game’.
Whilst there are debates, maybe arguments and some nastiness amongst individuals on Twitter, the realities of all schools are not represented. Where are those teachers who are going through hell?
Of course there are huge issues with people telling the truth about their school, especially if their Twitter account is identified directly to them. I’m not arguing that people should put themselves, the school and/or the children at risk by posting tweets with potentially problematic issues however I’m concerned about how those that are having tough times in school share those experiences, and possibly ask for advice.
Twitter can be a helpful, caring, sharing community but it has boundaries on what people ‘can’ ask about. Should it also be a place where people with serious difficulties can share? Or maybe those on Twitter haven’t experienced this kind of school & can’t empathise or offer advice? Is it really only partially representative of the teaching community?
This is why I get frustrated when people criticise The Guardian’s ‘Secret Teacher’ for seeming to always be negative and painting an unbalanced image of teaching. These people forget that whilst Twitter is generally full of positivity there are colleagues around the country that are having a nightmare;a truly challenging and potentially damaging time.
Where is their voice? Where can they ‘safely’ say what is happening to them? Just because it isn’t all sparkly & may make people question the profession once in a while, should we stop it and pretend it doesn’t exist?
Secret teacher is one way of giving these teachers in challenging circumstances a voice.
So whilst neither provides a balanced view, at least both give a voice to teachers in their current situation. I’m worried there are many teachers out there struggling, who can’t take advantage of the Twitter community and the catharsis of blogging due to fear of judgement or worse.