Education is not something that you get, but something you claim

The contract on the student’s part involves that you demand to be taken seriously so that you can also go on taking yourself seriously. This means seeking out criticism, recognizing that the most affirming thing anyone can do for you is demand that you push yourself further, show you the range of what you can do…. 

 Adrienne Rich as cited in brain

Educational Leadership

Today in our small group class discussion we spoke about what it means to be a social work educator/leader.

These are some of my thoughts still lingering from the discussion:

The importance of position and intersectionanality–as leaders and educators we need to be able to reflect on our position and articulate it clearly to our students, clients and peers.

The sense of “calling” to the profession some of us feel originates from our upbringing, our spirituality and our values. For me, this precedes the NASW Code of Ethics in terms of shaping how we practice. The idea of a calling can also be a hindrance if it limits who we think “should” be a social worker and how much we should be paid.

Social justice is a personal process that begins with an “I & Thou” relationship with our clients. We embody social justice when we begin by acknowledging the humanity of the person in front of us. At the same time, the magnitude of injustice in our society feels oppressive. I continue to struggle with the weight of the task–how do we make our American society more just? How do we raise the critical consciousness of our students, our clients & our communities?

I struggle to be an empowering leader. I can only do so by starting with my own fallibility, my humanity. I strive to be a leader in social justice work and I do so by raising my own critical consciousness and by making the small choices against oppression each day.