As a teacher, there are many things that I want from each and every stakeholder in this process. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and these are some of the things that I’ve come up with…
- I want to be led — I want to be inspired by those above me to do bigger and better things. I want people who are willing to get dirty and make the unpopular decisions (at times) yet are willing to listen to those in the trenches at the same time. I want people to be hired for having a vision, for being willing to lead, for being willing to try something, fail and get back up while learning from the process. I want people who are willing to take chances.
- I want people to care — and they need to care enough to say “I’ve had enough — we’re better than this and this is what we’re going to do to change.”
- I want people to demand more of themselves and those around them — I want people to expect more out of everybody — our administrators, our fellow teachers, our parents and our students. We can all do more — and we should. We need to demonstrate to our students — through our actions — that it’s unacceptable to set our sights low, achieve them and think that’s great. Let’s shoot high, let’s expect more of ourselves and see what we can truly achieve.
- I want people to serve for the right reasons — the current state of our political system is completely out of whack. I want people to vote for somebody, not against somebody else. We need inspiring choices — people who are willing to actually say something because they believe in it, not simply a charismatic figure who isn’t willing to take a stand on anything. Again, we are better than this — we need to demonstrate to the youth of our nation that the idea of civil discourse exists and must live on — that it’s perfectly fine to disagree on very tough issues, but making things personal because I believe in X while you believe in Y is simply unacceptable — it’s below us.
- I don’t want to be your scapegoat anymore — I’m a teacher, a member of a union and proud of both of those things. Are there teachers who have made mistakes? Yes — and you have too. I have had the opportunity to work in two different school districts and I have no qualms in saying that vast majority of the people I’ve worked with are talented, hard-working individuals who have your child’s interests at heart. Come walk in our shoes and see what our schools have become. Are there negative aspects to a union? Yes — but the unions have made this country, in my opinion. Are they perfect? Absolutely not — but get off your high horse and come to terms with the fact that we all need to look in the mirror before pointing that finger. Having said this, our unions need to demand more of our membership as well.
I’m sure that I will be adding to this as time goes by, but these five ideas will get things started… and I’d love to hear your thoughts…