Sunday, June 19, 2005

An Identity Of One's Own

Why am I doing this? Why have I finally given in, after resisting for so long?

I have been fighting the urge to begin a ‘blog of my very own’ for some time now. I will be using this blog to ‘reflect’ on my experiences as an early career teacher, but I have already managed to carve out a number of places for me to reflect on and learn from my teaching experiences. In fact, I would go so far to say that if there is one thing that I have actually managed to succeed at since I started my career as an English teacher last year, it’s reflection! So, the question remains… why start this blog??

Well, I attended a lecture at Monash Uni the other day with a good friend of mine (SB) about blogs, and it got me thinking. One of the points that the visiting lecturer, James Farmer, raised was in relation to the notion of ‘identity’, or ‘digital identity’ to be precise. He said that blogs allow individuals greater control over presenting (and developing, I guess) an identity online than, say, a bulletin or discussion board. In some ways, this sense of autonomy seems quite superficial, like choosing a template, or an image, that represents ‘you’. (With a list of 15 or so templates to choose from this seems to be about as accurate a way of representing yourself as referring to your star sign, unless you’re a html guru, but whatever). Anyway, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see how I would go about presenting my own identity ‘online’. I guess the process has already started- I certainly spent a lot of time agonising over what I was going to write about in my first post! After all, it may suggest some sense of direction that this blog might take, and besides, first impressions do matter to some! Of course, one of the most interesting things about ‘digital publishing’ (to me, at least) is that the author can modify, delete, or rewrite a post at any time, even after the reader has had an opportunity to interact with it. At the very least, this seems to suggest that any creation of an ‘identity’ on this digital page will be tentative, at best, and perhaps fleeting. This could be interesting…

So, the first decision that I had to make when I constructed this blog was to decide what to call it (after selecting my favourite template, of course, which I can change at any time, apparently). A title… something at least remotely relevant… something pithy… catchy… something that ‘represents’ me… and so, after much deliberation, I settled on…

‘An Identity of One’s Own’

Catchy? Maybe not. ‘Pithy’, yes… at least to me. As an early career teacher I’ve been preoccupied with trying to figure out what my ‘teaching identity’ actually is, and what I want it to be, and this blog will be yet another way for me to attempt to reach some understandings about that. My ‘own’ identity is important to stress, as last year I went through the process of having an identity foisted upon me by the VIT (Victorian Institute of Teaching). So this blog will also function as an attempt to ‘subvert’ the notion of identity as understood by the VIT.

So yeah, I think the title is appropriate (a thinly veiled reference to Virginia Woolf never goes astray, either). There are some tensions there, too- an identity vs. multiple identities, for instance- but that’s okay, tensions are what keep things interesting.

Don’t get too attached to the title, though… it could change at any time!

Okay, that’s it for now… first post down… how many to go?

How am I doing so far?!


Scott said...

Hey I like your own 'room'. Glad to have you here and there and ... well, out there.

You've raised some really interesting points here - I hope James Farmer google's himself ofter - he might want to join the conversation!

Hello ... James?

Hello ... Ms Woolf?

Darce said...

Welcome to the dark side my friend.
Have fun and I look forward to reading!