Humans are naturally curious – something which has been evident from the recent incident of the celebrity injunction! Despite the information not being available to the British public, many Brits know the information because they have intentionally sought it out, purely because we are nosey!
It is this search for information which intrigues me. I, too, intentionally looked for this information on the internet purely because I was not allowed to view it. The ridiculous part of this injunction is that if the story had been in the news, I would not have cared or even paid much attention. Purely the fact that the information was banned made it appealing.
I have experienced similar incidents with my students asking information about me – my real name, my age, etc. The more often I resisted answering these questions, the more vigorous they tried guessing the information, to the point where it is irritating and ridiculous. They do exactly what I did and try to find the information in any way that they can, purely because they are not allowed to know it.
The truth of it is that there is very little they can do with this information – they can find out my name from our email system or school website and (some of them) can do a pretty good job of guessing my age. (You’ll be pleased to know that they always guess over my real age, rather than under thanks to an outcrop of premature grey hairs). Satisfying their curiosities does not change the way in which the students behave, but it does eliminate their curiosity immediately.
The reason I raise this issue is because during my PGCE course (a few years previously), we were lectured often on the necessity to keep our information entirely private – students should never know our real name as they can use it to find out information about us and woe betide any teacher who ever gave out their age or what town they lived in. I do not believe that this edgy approach to information sharing is always a healthy way to treat our students and is certainly not conducive to a trusting classroom climate.
I believe it is time we stop scaring our teachers with horror stories and starting taking a more healthy approach to sharing. I certainly do not condone sharing lots of information, but perhaps we should consider satisfying small curiosities to quell the fun of the chase and remove the teacher injunction.