Sometimes, journal writers reveal some sensitive personal material; for the most part, what you reveal in your literary journal will stay private. However, there are some exceptions: I will report, to appropriate authorities, threats of harm to yourself and any blatant admission of a serious crime (such as homicide, any crime that could result in physical harm of another person, sexual/physical abuse of a child, selling illegal drugs to a minor–thus, any infraction against a minor, and threats of violence). As an English teacher, I am not legally bound by the same gag rules as a lawyer, doctor, psychologist, or clergy person. So do take care in what you choose to reveal. My personal ethics dictate that I don’t sit idly by if I know a serious crime has occurred or is about to occur, especially against children.
Also, keep in mind that, legally, I can’t counsel you; I can recommend our school psychologist, nothing more. Thus, my reactions to your personal problems must be limited to the generic comment.
Another caveat: Do not joke about serious legal or psychological matters because such a spoof could prove to be embarrassing to both of us. Also, if you choose to assume the voice of a dysfunctional literary character (and there are many in our readings), please note this at the beginning of your passage.
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