Lead with love; no excuses

“Miss? Miss? Why are you calling this a school? This is not a school.”

These are the words Linda Cliatt-Wayman heard from a student her very first day as a principle.She was the speaker of the TedTalk I chose to watch ( and you can here! ) titled ‘How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard’. Ms. Cliatt-Wayman attended school in Northern Philadelphia where poverty, struggle, poor behavior and lack of academic standards are the norm. After graduating, she could have left her roots behind, but instead chose to go back to where lockers don’t have locks and desks don’t always have chairs to replant those roots in soil rich with leadership, love and understanding.

One of the first times the camera shows the audience in attendance at this talk, there are dismayed looks of sympathy, as expected, as Ms. Cliatt-Wayman elaborates on her “not a school”. I noticed there are also a couple of members of the crowd crying. They are crying because their education also was not stellar. They are crying for the students who hate school, cuss in the halls and fail classes they don’t attend becuase they have no idea what a school truly is. These were experienced educators moved by a peer of their own. I’ll admit by the end I shed a tear or two, and I don’t even cry during ‘The Notebook’. But, this does not mean school and love are two different entities, in fact, Ms. Cliatt-Wayman proves how they are.

What I loved about this video was her intense passion from start to applause. If I were to meet her in person, I would probably be a little intimidated, but these traits do not some off as grueling or demanding. These traits emphasize her passion for her students. Multiple times she repeated how important it is for en educator to love their students. Think about this. Think of the people you love. You would do anything in your power to get the best for them, right? That is exactly why you need to love your students. THey say love is blind so block out the snappy attitude and redundant questioning and look inside your students.

“If you’re gonna lead, lead.”

“So what? Now what?”

“If no one told you they love you today, remember that I do.”

These are the three slogans Ms. Cliatt-Wayman recited repeatedly throughout her talk. Each has a lesson and purpose behind it. With the help of these slogans, a “not a school” in the slums worked its way up in the world to better its students. Ms. Cliatt-Wayman lead this change and my new view on leadership combined with love.


6 thoughts on “Lead with love; no excuses

  1. gratuitouslygeeky says:

    There is this idea that I’ve heard before that passion is terrifying to those who witness it and those who feel it. It can be so intense that it is overwhelming, and it often shows in the things that people say and do. The fact that you might be intimidated by meeting her is a testament to the authenticity of her passion. This is not to say that quiet intensity is any less real or valid, but more to say that if one is truly passionate it is easy to recognize.


  2. caitlannimickeaglescscedu says:

    I really loved this post! Love is such a big part of teaching! You have to love your job and love your students in order to get the results that you are aiming for. Every teacher and administrator should lead with love. Great post!


  3. Elisabeth Ellington says:

    I’m off to watch this talk right now! Sounds right up my alley. The longer I teach, the more I think that love is really the only thing we need to do exceptionally well. Love makes all other things possible in the classroom. But it’s really difficult to talk about love in a serious way with other professionals–they think you’re soft, touchy-feely, new-agey, etc.


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