I went back to high school yesterday to participate in a "Who Is My Neighbor?" workshop at Westover School's Rasin Center for Global Justice, sharing my experiences with blogging.
It's always interesting to get someone else's perspective on your work. One of the school's teachers commented afterward that I demonstrated to the students that the internet makes it easier to fulfill a civic responsibility to speak out and to have your voice heard, and that we must abide by an ethical standard of moral judgment and informed opinion (perhaps even more so, since what we post online is there for years). She made a very good point that we must combine moral judgment, informed opinion, and courage in order to be heard. You can write or say whatever you want, but if you aren't trustworthy, you won't be respected, and your voice won't be heard.
I arrived at the school joking to myself that I was about to be a bad influence, encouraging teens to follow in my footsteps and start blogging about social causes. I left feeling like a good role model, able to show a transformation from my earliest posts, where I shared my immediate, emotional response to issues, to more recent posts, where I try to help myself and others understand the history leading up to the issues in order to make informed decisions.
|The art history classroom, where I spent countless hours over many years.|
On a personal note, my visit was a little surreal. They put me in the art history classroom, where I took classes nearly every trimester for three years as a student, and where I taught classes after finishing grad school. One of the students who attended my presentation is the daughter of one of my classmates. After the workshop, we gathered in Red Hall, where I suddenly realized that one of the other presenters was the person who indirectly got me to apply to Westover--someone who graduated years before I attended, and whose parents raved about what a great school it was, convincing my parents to think about sending me there. It was a full circle type of experience.