More on What Happens When Students Get Comfortable in their Blogging–and Blog about Us!

Bryan sent me links to the student-blogging-the-professor-and-the-professor-finding-out story and the the student’s posting after he realizes his professor has been lurking about his blog, and of course I found it quite amusing.

For me it’s been the other way around a bit. My students read my blog, I know, and I’ve written before about how at first it felt a little strange when they trackbacked my postings to their blogs or left comments because it hadn’t dawned on me that they would be among my modest readership– I was surprised that they would even be remotely interested in what I was blogging (except, of course, since I was largely blogging about them, it would interest them–duh). But most of the time they just read along without responding or linking–and I might hear about it in the hall: “Nice post, BG” but mostly I don’t hear about it.

And it’s fine by me. I’m glad they read the blog. Knowing that they read my writing–my blogging–makes me on some level try to model how blogging is a great way to keep a reflective practice, but an even better way to open up our thinking and to get out there and participate, to stir up the ideas and see what comes back. And I know my blogging here has inspired a handful of students to want to try it for themselves outside the confines of the classroom. I don’t care if I know which of them reads the blog. They don’t need to identify themselves–it’s part of the beauty of the blog.

But something bothers me a tiny bit about a professor reading a student’s blog without ever letting on until the end of the semester in an albeit slyly funny way–with no harmful intention whatsoever. It leaves me with the slight taste of Big Brother peering over the shoulder, of the old power paradigm at work keeping teachers up on the stage and students in their seats.

Granted, the kid was blogging and so anyone has the right to read the posts. But do we have a different kind of responsibility to let our students know we’re reading their blogs if they haven’t identified themselves on it nor have they openly identified us yet we know who they are and that they’re, in truth, writing about us?