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Facebook-and Being an Authentic Human Being
Part one: The Teachers Room
Those of you who grew up in my generation knew the teachers room at the school was off-limits to students for a variety of reasons, none of which had anything to do with giving them a break. When we walked by the teachers room smoke oozed out from under the door, and when the door opened we saw our instructors sitting on couches and smoking, talking about things we were not supposed to know they did. Like partying. Having 'sex'. Drinking. In other words: being human.
In this day and age there are still teachers rooms and lounge areas for teachers to relax. But there are public spaces as well that teachers are part of....like Facebook.
At a recent conference I was in a group discussing how much "information" was available on FB and how teachers might not want to "Friend" their students. Whilke I agree current students may not be a good idea, I maintain that I have nothing to hide. I am who I am here, there and in the classroom. You do not get a watered down version of me in any place. I strive to be authentic, and know I am imperfect.
Some of my best FB pals are my former students. They enrich my life in all ways and although I may not interact with them each and every day, they are part of who I have become and I welcome their joys, successes and even sad moments of sharing with me.
The teacher's room is not a place to hide from the realities of the world. If we are authentically ourselves there is no need to fear anything. I welcome my students calling me "Aley" as well...and find not once have I been disrespected by not being called "Mrs"....some call me professor and that is a joy, but not necessary. I have had more schooling than they have, but I am not exempt from learning more in life. Let them teach me too. I thank them for all their insights, widsom and love.
Open the doors, let the smoke dissapate. We are all one.
Part Two: Are you being real?
For those of you who are not teachers, but who have friends from different parts of your life...are you being REAL or are you worried about revealing WHO you are for fear of judgment?
The world is full of judgmental people, some searching to pick a fight with you at the smallest provocation. People who will not agree with your lifestyle, your values, your beliefs and your opinions. How you respond to these people is up to you, but remaining steadfastly true to who you are is vital! I have remained authentically myself despite friends and relatives who seek to change who I am, or de-friend me for no apparent reason. In the long run does it seem like a good idea to even try to keep people who fundamentally against you for being who you are?
Maybe it is my age, or maybe it is my experience in being the focus of judgment, but I am all over that kind of pressure in my life. I seek to stay close to those who are meaningful in my life and while we may not agree on everything, have something enough in common for me to remain a friend. I am reminded by the great enlightenment thinker Voltaire:
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
Yes, peeps, we can agree to disagree and still remain friends! WOW!
Facebook is one of the best inventions of the past decade and yet social networking is only in its infancy right now. In order to make use of this wonderful technology to its fullest potential we need to unmask those parts of our lives that we are somehow fearful of disclosing, or at the very least remain authentically real in our interactions with all those with whom we friend. There is such a profound difference in the life of people are are not afraid to be who they are, "warts and all"...after all we are simply human, imperfect and works in progress. What can be wrong with that?