Now it seems like trust is taken for granted and leadership is taken for $.
I have spent the last few days at my school preparing my room to be inundated with 150 kids next Tuesday and I have to say I am excited - and a bit nervous - to meet them. Yet, the fact that some classrooms will be empty of teachers on September 6 is baffling - especially when there are still over 700 recently-laid-off teachers ready, willing, and able to step in.
Moreover, in a situation where one superintendent is ousted only to find out that another is attending a vacation in the two weeks prior to school starting, it seems like our leaders are abandoning ship (I don't care how far in advance the vacation was planned - if I were to be that situation, I would cancel it to make sure I had full teacher rosters on the fist day of school).
Why is it so hard to find and maintain good leaders?
Over the past three years of my interactions with teachers across the School District I have been called many things: idealistic, optimistic, unrealistic, and more. It is hard for me to take part in those conversations because I don't really care how I'm labeled - I am not going to change.
I demand good leaders. I demand people who recognize good leadership when it comes along. I demand that leaders earn our trust an keep earning our trust after they are in place. If I've learned anything from the past few months of Dr. Ackerman's decline it is that she should have paid more attention to what the nay-sayers were saying and try to understand where they were coming from.
I demand that I become a good leader, regardless if I ever hold the position of one. I demand that others check on me from time to time and remind me of what it is like to be one. I demand of my students to be good leaders as well. And most of all I demand that people would stop using my idealism as an excuse to rationalize their jaded viewpoints.
If we can't believe in each other, we can't trust each other. If we can't trust each other, we can't share a vision. And if we can't share a vision, our leaders are meaningless. Let us rebuild the trust that once existed in Philadelphia's history: one student at a time.