Does every teacher need to plog?

I'm meeting with Paul the Preindustrial Poet.  He has this worn-out notebook with him - the kind that existed before tabs and folders.  He writes lines of poetry, not in any sequential order, but wherever he finds space.  Sometimes he'll fill the blank space with an entire short story.  One entire page is a series of 140 character short stories he wrote just to prove to me that one can, in fact, tell a narrative on a pen pal network.

Paul tried to write a plog at one time, because he bought into the lie that every good teacher needs to write a plog.  It was too structured for him and too public as well.  "Look, I would never say that every teacher needs to write poetry or that every teacher needs to write for Hearst.  The reality is that different people find a medium that works for them."

Mr. Brown doesn't plog, either.  Or at least, he doesn't plog about school.  He writes mostly about fantasy and baseball and his fantasies of running a baseball team.  He says that in another century he might be able to find a like-minded group of people who would participate in a make-believe league where they would live vicariously through a sport that allows people to live vicariously through athletes.  Mr. Brown won't go on the pen pal networks.  It's just not his thing.

My wife is social.  Very social.  She knows everyone in the neighborhood.  She has a whole social network within walking distance of our front porch.  (She thinks its sacrilege that I don't call it a "stoop.") However, she has no desire to plog or to participate in the pen pal networks.  She's a teacher.  Not formally, but in conversation, in life, in her actions and in her questions.  She plans to home school the kids when they aren't at school (we'll do both home school and public school, saving most of the home-schooling for weekends and summers).

Some of the best teachers I know are not pencil geeks.  They have no desire to write a plog or go on a pen pal network or use social book marking.  What makes them great is their passion for the subject, their love for their students and the way they combine these in practical, tangible ways.  If a plog is part of the deal, it's great.  We all get to learn from them.  If not, that's okay.

If the district made it mandatory for me to plog, I would quit plogging.  I would probably plagiarize or find passive-agressive ways to get back at the power elite.  I would see myself as a pencil pusher and my plog as mere paperwork.  But alas, I can plog when I want and it isn't tied up with my self-concept as a teacher.


  1. If we respect the premise of multiple intelligences and differentiated learning, then we must respect the notion that teachers develop and collaborate professionally in different ways.

  2. Anonymous3:44:00 PM

    Mandated sharing doesn't do much for anyone. Just as we respect differences among our students, we must respect differences in ourselves. No one needs to do everything.