In the fall of 2015, when I was in graduate school at UC Berkeley, I received a phone call from my mom asking me to come and visit her in my hometown of Berkeley, California.
The first thing I did was get an email from my professor, a former colleague at UCB.
“Hi, I’m Rebecca and I am currently studying for a Ph.
D. in sociology at UCF,” he wrote.
“I am looking for someone to teach a class called The Sociology of Photography and it would be great to be able to work with you.”
Rebecca, my mother, had just gotten her first graduate degree in psychology, and she was eager to work for a school with a history of innovative graduate programs.
Her application for the class, the first ever in a history program, would include research on photography as a means of social change, a goal she was passionate about.
“In the beginning, I wanted to do research on how people were communicating in the social context of the Internet,” Rebecca told me.
But she also wanted to become an educator, and her desire to change the way people viewed images of themselves and others inspired her to pursue a career in social work.
And so, at UCFs graduation ceremony, she accepted a position as a social worker in the department, and I soon discovered that the job wasn’t exactly her dream job.
“What I found out was that I was not qualified for the position,” Rebecca said.
“There were a lot of things that I didn’t know.”
A Sociology graduate student in the classroom.
I was struck by how little research there was on the effects of communication on how we see the world.
When I asked Rebecca why she chose the job, she replied, “Because I was thinking about it and I was going to be a social work educator.”
I asked her how this decision came about.
She explained, “At the time, I was still trying to figure out how people communicate with each other, and it was hard to get people to speak up.”
So I sent her an email asking about the position.
Rebecca responded that she had “a lot of experience in the field and a strong interest in the subject.”
I was blown away, and asked what she would do as an educator.
“It’s so important that people have the opportunity to be heard,” she replied.
So, she wrote, I began teaching classes about communication theory and social change through my social work workshops.
I started with social workers in the Bay Area, and within two years, I had developed a strong reputation as a teacher.
And I quickly found myself in a classroom where everyone was listening, and they were eager to learn more.
I have since been able to build relationships with a group of social workers, many of whom have been extremely supportive.
Rebecca said that this experience has helped her to see how people use their bodies, how they communicate with others, and how we as a society are all connected by our communication.
As I moved into the classroom, Rebecca said, I saw that a lot more people were coming to class for reasons other than wanting to learn about a particular topic.
I also realized that the classroom was the best way to teach students about social change because I had a sense of how the students would respond to a given topic, and so I began to develop a way to interact with the students.
“We can’t really talk about things unless we talk about them,” Rebecca explained.
“And so when I would bring up a topic, students would say, ‘OK, that’s fine, I understand.'”
So as a way of teaching people how to use their own bodies and how to communicate with people, I developed a way for students to get in touch with the bodies that they are using, the voices that they’re hearing, and what they’re seeing.
As Rebecca told the story of how she came to be in the room where I began my social studies classes, it reminded me of the power of seeing how the world around you can change.
As a social justice educator, I’ve realized that this kind of change is necessary, because people are seeing things that they otherwise wouldn’t.
I can’t change a society if I don’t have a strong sense of who I am and what I can do.
Rebecca told an interesting story about her experiences with this new way of being social work teacher, and the effect she has had in changing how the classroom works in Berkeley.
She says, “My first lesson was that people will always see something that doesn’t match what they are seeing.
That’s the first thing that they’ll notice.
They will ask, ‘What the heck is this?'”
That was the first time that I thought that I could get in there and talk to a group that was not interested in learning about a specific topic.
In a classroom full of students, I would find that I would start to connect with the group, because they all shared my curiosity and were all interested in