Students are our “comrades in the struggle towards social justice”
That Reshma (Resh) Budhu was recently voted in as the Readers’ Choice best community worker and early childhood professor was no shock to some of her students.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Kim Michaud, a second-year student in the community worker program. “She has a lot of experience, she’s so articulate in class and she really grasps everybody’s attention. She’s one of my top professors, a hundred per cent.”
But Budhu didn’t become one of the best for being an easy teacher. According to Michaud, Budhu’s class will challenge you.
“The way she selected the activities that were brought in and incorporated into the materials in class made me really think and question my own belief system and made me want to discover more,” said Michaud.
Budhu said that her mother was an activist, and social justice was the way she was she raised. With her activist background and her desire to explore ideas, Budhu said that teaching in the community worker program is the best of both worlds.
She said that her most satisfying experience in the job is when her students find their voice and understand what they’re meant to be doing.
“They’re not just students any more but they’re also our colleagues,” said Budhu. “And they are comrades in the struggle towards social justice.”
Working in the community is challenging and can create doubts in those doing it. Budhu faces these challenges by keeping a very clear set of principles, which is also her advice to students in the program.
“Figuring what your bottom line is, what your principles are, and where they lie within your current context, because sometimes, it’s easy to get confused,” Budhu said. “To be a community worker is not just to say you’re a community worker, but every moment of your life is to act like you’re a community worker.”
Besides being a professor, and the community worker program coordinator, Budhu coordinates the Tommy Douglas Institute. The institute was established out of the community worker program and brings the community and people from educational institutions together to discuss social justice.
This year, the Tommy Douglas Institute will feature a talk from Murray Sinclair, a Canadian senator and the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The upcoming event is the sixth annual and will take place May 28.
With so much going on in her life, the question what do you do in your free time? gets a response that is not really surprising.
“I don’t have free time,” she laughed. “Between teaching, coordinating the program, preparing for the next year, teaching in the fast track, doing the Tommy Douglas Institute, it’s a lot of work.”
The Readers’ Choice winner did note, though, that she’s a fan of 1980s music, very big on Halloween, likes medium-double-doubles, and all in all enjoys being a mystery.