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Every Kid Needs a Champion

The late Rita Pierson followed in the footsteps of both her parents and grandparents by pursuing a 40-year-long career in education.

Pierson taught elementary school, junior high, and special education. She also worked as a counselor, a testing coordinator, and an assistant principal. And in this inspiring Ted Talk, Pierson encourages teachers that relationships are the key to student learning:

“We know why kids drop out…But one of the things that we never discuss — or that we rarely discuss — is the value and importance of human connection; relationships.

Questions to Consider:

· Pierson says that kids don’t learn from people they don’t like. Do you agree? Have your children learned better from teachers they liked than from the teachers they didn’t like?
· Pierson admitted that there were years when, she “had classes that were so academically deficient that I cried.” If you’re a teacher, you might be able to relate. What advice would you give other teachers?
· Do you agree with Pierson that relationship-building — teachers connecting with students on a “real, human, personal level” — is a key to educational success?
· What do you think of Pierson’s mantra: “I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I’ll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful and I am strong, and I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress and places to go…You say it long enough, and it starts to be a part of you.”?
· Pierson asks how powerful our world would be if every child had “a champion”. Has your child had a teacher who was a champion for him or for her?

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