Dr Antoine J Rogers
My name is Antoine Rogers, Dr Antoine Rogers, apparently, and I’m a senior lecturer in social policy at London South Bank University. Well social policy involves broadly the study of society and different policies that impact on society. The greatest moments for me are the teaching moments. I enjoy transferring knowledge. I like it when people get it. I find that process, you know, quite motivating and exciting.
I did have a dream job when I was really young, which I think was to be a politician or to be a lawyer, and then it changed; I wanted to be a theatre major, a theatre student. I wanted to act later, and then I wanted to be a social worker, and then I wanted to be an activist, and it has just constantly changed I think, and that has been a good thing, actually, for me.
I grew up in what you would call in the system, in the care system, so I lived in a lot of foster homes and group homes when I was a kid, from the time when I was about four-years-old, really. I think when you come from that experience you are very aware, you know, of how unstable life can be. I think, you know, not having parents and always, you know, sort of being shuffled from one place to the other instils you with a certain awareness of how difficult life can be.
There was a politician in Chicago when I was a kid who really captured my attention, and Harold Washington was his name, the first and only black mayor of Chicago, and he visited schools, and I had shook his hand, which was a really cool moment. And he spoke in a way that enabled me to feel that my life could change and that I could be the engine of that change, and it didn’t matter that, you know, I was a foster kid and that I lived in poor neighbourhood, that I could do anything.
When I got to High School I was really motivated. I had been in the care system you know at that point for twelve years and had lived… well, lived in a lot of places, and I just wanted to be independent. That was a great motivator, trying to be independent, so I graduated from High School a year early, and then I went to university, to Pennsylvania just near New York, and did my first degree there in criminal justice, and then came back to Chicago thinking that I would, you know, sort of reshape the lives of all of these young kids from the neighbourhood I grew up in and pursued a career as a social worker.
Doing the actual frontline work taught me a lot. It definitely reshaped my ideas about how effective I would be in changing people’s lives.
My university, when I was doing my Masters at the time, was involved and had been a part of exchanges with the University of Birmingham, and we had gone to Birmingham, and that was pretty exciting. It was, it was really exciting, and I thought maybe I should take some time to explore a little bit, with the intention of, you know, just a little while and then I’ll come back home. But you stay in a place long enough and you start developing relationships and connections, and it becomes more difficult to leave, so it doesn’t look like I’m going to be returning home anytime soon.
I’ve been thinking about what my dream job is. I don’t have an answer yet. I want to get outside the university I think because I’ve been in this environment pretty much consistently since I was about sixteen/seventeen years old. I think at some point I need to sort of let it go, maybe look for jobs in research institutes outside of the university. My partner is Spanish. Learning the language. Who knows? Maybe just go and build a bed and breakfast in Valencia. That’s an option. I don’t know. I’ve always just let life sort of dictate to me a little bit what I should be doing, to some degree.