Every Student Needs a Champion

This is an inspiring TED talk from Rita Pierson, a teacher of 40 years, on the importance of forming realtionships and connections with students.

A part of Rita’s talk which really resonated with me was when she shared about her mother, who was also an educator. She spoke of how her mother took the time to care and form relationships with each of her students. Rita shared that at her mothers funeral years later, she was astounded at the number of former students who attended. This attendance illustrated to her the legacy of realtionships her mother developed that will never disappear.

Rita also discusses how to approach assessment in a positive way which makes students feel accomplished and drives them to want to do better, instead of making them feel unsuccessfull and further unresponcive. How writting a “+2” on a students paper instead of “-18” can make a world of a difference in how the student responds and continues learning.

There were numerous parts of Rita’s talk which really stuck with me as highlighting the importance of connecting with students, such as:


“Will you like all your students? Heck no. And you know your toughest kids are never absent. The tough ones show up for a reason, its the connection and the realtionships.”

“Teaching and learning should bring joy. Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of conneciton and insists that they be the best they can possibly be.”

In closing, Rita shared she once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” She replied:“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” In this engaging TED talk, Rita discusses the importance of believing in your students, and connecting with students on a real, personal level.

To check out Rita’s inspiring TED talk, click here.