Show me a social work field department that is not engaged daily in huddles: making complicated decisions, brokering tailored plans, toiling over ethical quandaries, or determining the readiness of students for placement (a humbling responsibility), and I will assure you that the academic year has not yet begun.

Such is the life and the energy of field education: preparing diverse groups of students to bring their own humanity to the table – all in the name of impacting the humanity of others. I think we call that the “professional use of self.” We know that the process goes better sometimes than it does others.

As we muddle through situations that, at times, preoccupy our minds and agendas, we must stay with our core value of social justice. Just as our students must advocate for their clients who are most marginalized, we must do the same for students who frequently experience misunderstanding and marginalization. This includes our students who identify themselves as people living with disabilities. It is on us, as highlighted in this issue’s Conversation, to challenge our assumptions and biases and to help these students gain access to opportunities that others take for granted.

In our role as educators, we must support those whose capabilities may look different but are of no less value, and invite those with the lived experience of disability to bring their insights to the field. There is no question that we also must exercise another kind of support for those students who, in a snapshot of time, are unable to safely practice social work. This requires us to exercise skilled assessments, not unexamined assumptions. And, in the familiar words attributed to the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, we must have the “wisdom to know the difference.”