Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Death of a Blogger: Goodbye to Snuffy, of 'To Miss with Love'

If you've been following this blog for a few years, you will know that I often write about other great education bloggers out there, particularly those that write about teaching in London schools.  One of my favourites, was To Miss with Love, written by an anonymous teacher who went by the name of "Snuffy."  Here's her self-description:

I teach in a state school in inner-city London. I'm black. I want to change the world - one kid - one school - one policy at a time. Nowadays, I'm one of the ones at the top of the school who runs things. Let's see if I can make a difference...
Last week, I received her last blog post on my reader, which basically said "Goodbye blog world" - Snuffy would be writing no longer.  I've been blogging for about 6 years now so I'm well used to the "death of a blogger" syndrome.  It's always a sad day when a blogger I've been reading for years decides to call it quits.

In Snuffy's case, I wasn't surprised.  She often wrote about how she was concerned about being caught out for blogging about the issues in education in London, and how difficult it was to speak her mind without getting in trouble as a teacher and eventually as a Senior Management member of her school.  I've often wondered if I ever taught along with Snuffy in any of our London schools.  Her "voice" seemed so familiar to me.  But maybe it's just that what she wrote about really hit home for me. I taught in many schools in London, but the schools I remember most had the same issues that Snuffy wrote about so often.

Well, today Joanne Jacobs posted the most recent story about Snuffy, whose name we now know.  It turns out that Snuffy got in trouble speaking her opinions on British education again, this time using her real name & voice.  She even had to take 2 days off school for it.

Here's my favourite Snuffy quote from Joanne Jacobs blog: “This idea that because you are poor you cannot achieve is ridiculous.”

I'm so pleased to see that Snuffy's voice has not been silenced.  While she often says things that cause people to squirm in their seats, at least she says them.   So, goodbye to Snuffy the blogger, and hello to Katharine Birbalsingh the teacher who speaks her mind.

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  1. Wow! I was following her blog as well, and even though I disagreed with some of her viewpoints, I was sad to see her go. I can't believe she got suspended for speaking her mind at a political conference. That's totally ridiculous.

    Now that her real name and the name of her school are linked to her blog, I hope she doesn't get in trouble for some of the other things she's said.

  2. She's deleted it, and even though I've read it all for years I can't even find her former posts, so she should be okay. I imagine that she doesn't much care at this point though - sounds like she's coming out guns a'blazin'.

    It's an interesting story though isn't it? Makes you think twice about what you write online...and speak in public. Oh England - you are so funny at times.

  3. It's quite scary, actually. I believe strongly in freedom of speech, and while I always try to keep my schools and students anonymous, I'd like to feel safe speaking freely about the system itself. That's how change happens.

  4. I think there may be more to the story than we are seeing. In the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8051321/Teacher-who-criticised-education-standards-to-return-to-school.html they make a brief mention to Snuffy using real pictures of students in her talk. If that's the case, then it's a very different issue than speaking her opinions, and more about the safety of the students. It's so hard to tell really, since we weren't there. I'll be watching the story to see what else comes out though.

  5. This article explains the issue a bit better: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8052932/Teacher-Katharine-Birbalsingh-recounted-pupils-violence-in-a-blog.html Should have read it before writing the post actually. Drats...

  6. I wrote about this on my blog too -sad she has gone, and a dramatic, moving speech at the party conference. I just hope things change because of it, and that it doesn't all end with the round of applause she got on the day.

  7. Sarah, thanks so much for your comment. I just searched your blog for your Snuffy post and must say, I loved reading it. You are a brilliant writer! So happy that you do what you do.

    For the others reading this who want to see Sarah's post, here it is:


  8. Every person should be able to enjoy his/her freedom of speech rights. One should feel safe speaking her mind. Just because one person's viewpoint did not get matched with the majority, it was ridiculous to throw her out. Those people should learn tolerance and patience if they strive to represent the millions.


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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