Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion. (deconstruction)


Rita Pierson is a professional educator who brings a special energy to her job and a desire to get to know her students, to show how much they matter and to support them in their growth. Rita teaches for 40 years following in the footsteps of her grandmother and both parents that is why she had a chance to look at educational reform from three different perspectives. In her ted talk, she explicates that every single child deserves the champion in her or his teacher’s face.

The speaker begins her speech with the reasons for dropping out that we already know – poverty, low attendance or negative peer influences. However, supporting by the statements of two famous Americans, she claims that one of the almost forgotten things at schools is the significance of human connection between teachers and children. She gave one example of her colleague who said: “They do not pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach the lesson and the kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it. Case closed”. I liked Rita’s answer to her statement: “…kids do not learn from people they don’t like”. Actually, it is a completely true thing. From my primary school experience, I always modeled my favorite Math teacher on behavior, dressing and way of talking. As I liked her, primarily I tried to complete home tasks given by her and amusedly went to her classes. I enjoyed everything about her. Eventually, I have completed Math school course with an excellent mark because I was keen on Math and knew almost everything about it. In my opinion, the reason for that was my inspiring teacher. So I can conclude that good teacher’s attitude towards children and vice versa reflects children’s learning.

Seeking first to understand in order to be understood and apologizing are the next point of Rita’s claim about good relationships between teachers and children. Most children read their teachers like a book. They see teacher’s intentions and desire to teach beyond skin and bone. In her speech, she gives one more example of her own, which explicates the mistake she did with Math lesson. She taught the whole lesson wrong. However, next day she made an apology to children and they said: “That is okay… You were so excited, we just let you go”. It is so wonderful. Her children understood her and could not even interrupt because of her teaching handicraft. Children did the reflection towards her, maybe because she did the same or because of her enthusiastic teaching process. Also, she showed her inspiring teaching skills giving an example of the class with low academic achievements and her meticulous attitude towards the class. She tries not only to evaluate the student’s work but to encourage them to get higher mark by showing that they deserve better.

Rita’s speech impressed me with demonstrating sincere affection to children without any exceptions. I remember from psychology lessons that the first rule for all teachers is to love them. Without love, it is impossible to teach efficiently. She knows her staff well; and I hope it will fill with enthusiasm other educators.







5 thoughts on “Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion. (deconstruction)

  1. Thank you, dear Assem for this deconstruction post we can be imbued by! I noticed my favourite Ken Robinson in the video:) But he is not the subject of my comment. These strong women and mainly teachers build community and give hope for the bright future in the most hopeless schools. We need them here in Kazakhstan. Probably we have these teachers only their voices are not heard. We must provide a good platform for them to speak and inspire.

    My story is similar to yours. I adored my math teacher in the 5th grade, her name is Valida Faizrakhmanovna (we must know the names of the greatest). She was about 60s at that time and I didn’t realize that she would leave the school. I loved Math very much and was planning to connect my life with it. Every day I stayed after the lessons for extra Math and was so into it. Honestly, I even tried to follow my teacher till her house (what a crazy fan I was). The reason is curiousity to see where she lives and to realize that she is a human being not a Hero that flies back to her planet. Unfortunately, she retired when I was in the 7th grade and all my passion towards Math dissapeared and I was totally lost. The new teacher could not make me feel that way and it really was a trauma for me. Now I see that it wasn’t about Math but more about my Champion.

    And a year ago when I became a teacher I heard one of my brightest students said: “I didn’t love English last year because our teacher was not interesting. But I love English now because we have Miss Bota.” Those words were a blessing for me, it is a great deal to deserve such candor from kids, because they do not pretend and “don’t learn from people they don’t like”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear, asemova! I enjoyed your video very much! I completely agree with you and Rita Pierson. I highly appreciate teacher’s love in teaching procedures. It is extremely important for me to make connection with each of my student, because I sometimes make corrections in my lessons plans in order topics to be much more close to my students. Yes, every student is exceptional, but I do not think that there is a necessity to change the whole curriculum. In mu opinion, we should just choose topics, which students found interesting. For exmaple, whatever grammar topic you are talking about, you can use examples from Harry Potter stires, which are your students’ favourite books. Thanks for this wonderful topic!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this deconstruction. I found your summary complete and easy to follow, and you make some good points based on your personal experience in school. In critical reading and writing, however, it is difficult to make claims like “Actually, it is a completely true thing,” supported only by your own personal experiences. While your experiences are valuable, and in fact I agree with you about the importance of student-teacher relationships, you can’t speak for all students everywhere. Be sure to qualify statements like these with “In my experience, this is completely true.” or “Actually, this is statement nearly everyone can relate to.” In each of these versions, you give the reader a chance to disagree with you, acknowledging that what you are saying is not backed by strong evidence/data.

    A few grammatical points:
    Rita teaches for 40 years following in the footsteps of her grandmother and both parents that is why she had a chance to look at educational reform from three different perspectives. (tense and run-on sentence)
    However, supporting by the statements of two famous Americans, she claims… (supporting vs. supported)



  4. I totally agree with the points in your deconstruction. However, in my opinion, the speaker makes an assumption by saying “they do not learn from people they do not like” and fails to give a proof and explication for that statement.
    But what she says about the vitality of relationship warrants attention.


  5. Thank you, Assem, for sharing this interesting topic (deconstruction). To be honest, nowadays it is still a problem for teachers to work in schools as they were humiliated by the government which made slave wages for them. From daily life and experience, I have noticed that most Kazakhstani teachers don’t like to teach, motivate children to learn their subjects, as teachers’ salaries are low and there is no motivation to teach children in order to develop their academic performances in schools. Without enough financial support for independent existence, teachers can’t give their students educational upbringing and motivation where students would feel as “future champions” of their lives. On the other hand, American teachers are motivated to teach schoolchildren because of higher salaries in school than in Kazakhstani context.


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