From the President (Summer 2020)

By NASJE President Janice Calvi-Ruimerman

Janice Calvi-Ruimerman
NASJE President Janice Calvi-Ruimerman

With change comes new growth

As I entered my office today, having been telecommuting since March 13, 2020, I fully expected to find my office plants yearning for water and on the brink of decay, if not fully returned to the dirt in which they rested. What I saw, however, astonished me! On my conference table sat the Poinsettia plant that I purchased from my daughter’s school fundraiser 3 years ago, which seems to be thriving. Now, for those of you on the Southern side of the world this may not seem like a big deal, but for those of us in the East and North Poinsettias are not our average, year-round blooming house plant. And, to have one re-bloom multiple times in a climate that can reach below zero is truly a miraculous feat. So, you can imagine my disbelief when after 4 months of working remotely, I walked into my office to not only find that my plant is still alive, but more importantly, has new growth.

Kitchen counter

Alongside my Poinsettia sat a large box labeled Education Unit. As we contemplate our “new normal” our Education Unit supplies now include PPE, such as non-latex gloves, disposable masks, and of course, CLOROX. For many, this reality is overwhelming and stressful to say the least. Change, however small or large, is unsettling especially when it is imposed upon us by the likes of a pandemic. Our loss of control over our environment, our physical and personal wellbeing, our jobs, our daily activities is debilitated by change, even to a pro-change addict like me. And, as displayed by my Poinsettia, with change, even imposed change, comes growth … new growth in fact!

Over the last few months, I have experienced an inspiring ease and fluidity of mass collaboration amongst our NASJE colleagues. Immediately, we came together to share development standards and to provide one another with accessible curricula, thereby eliminating borders and creating a global network of support. We, without hesitation, banded together and continued the conversation over injustices facing our nation, our colleagues, and our friends. Again, I am amazed at our “new growth,” our continued development in a climate that may seem unresponsive. In plants, the rooting depth controls opportunity for growth. So too, NASJE, like my Poinsettia, has deepened roots and structure to weather, GROW, and further endure. So, notwithstanding the current physical and emotional strain on each of us, we continue to grow and thrive. I have never been so proud to be a part of any organization! You all inspire me to continue to grow, bloom, and be better. I challenge each of you to root deep and to grow stronger!