June 30, 2021
Those furthest from the resources
As we continue our school-year journey, many of us are wrapping up our fiscal year today, some of us our teaching summer courses, others are busy ‘cleaning up’ from the 2020-21 academic year, some have visions of summer getaways, and some are experiencing all of the above. It is at precisely times like these that we should reflect on the journey. The roads we traverse to get to these ‘finishing’, ‘restarting’, and or ‘rejuvenating’ portions of our journey should inform and should be time for reflection.
No one would argue that the past 16 months have contained some of the most arduous times in each of our lives, both professionally and personally. But while we lament the difficulties of this sojourn, I submit to you that once again, tough times demonstrate and fully highlight social and economic disparities in a myriad of ways. As I reflect on this past year plus I am reminded of the many conversations about essential workers, returns to campus, testing and vaccinations, with health care and safety being at or near the center of each conversation.
It is at these junctures that I remember the definition of essential workers often overlooking at worst or merely tokenizing at best the people who prepared/served food, cleaned/maintained facilities, and others like drivers and service workers who provided necessary services for our enterprises and daily lives. Many of these folks continued to work while we worked remotely. They also continued to work while others stayed home, did not work, and accepted stimulus monies. Let’s not be overly critical of the latter of these groups, for who among us would go to work to make less money than we could if we stayed at home? Certainly, there are those who may take advantage but clearly these are times like no other.
I hope you take time to thank all of the many “equally essential” folks mentioned above who like our doctors, nurses, and other “essential” workers helped to get us through these difficult times. My hope is that you have and will continue to share kind words, provide generous tips, and overall give extra-consideration for these often forgotten and to some, invisible workers.
In paraphrasing, it has been said that those furthest from the resources suffer the greatest. Why don’t we, who are often closer to the resources, extend ourselves to those who are furthest away. After all, we are educators. We are folks who work to uplift and advance. So, I challenge you. See these equally essential workers. Recognize and speak with them. Thank them. And work within your power to bring them closer to the resources.
Stay well, stay safe, vaccinate, and continue to do good work,
"It’s all about the students",
Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr
Dr. Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr.
Our Rising Leaders Institute just concluded and our Virtual Summer Writing Research Bootcamp is in full swing. Thank you to all who have participated and certainly thanks to our wonderful LMI team and our other leaders for making these opportunities happen. AABHE definitely is making a difference.