Funny how an idea starts following you around, pestering you to pay attention until you finally do, and then nagging you to do something with it. Rita Pierson’s TED talk started following me a few Sundays ago. Hubby and I were on a post-church mission to Wal-Mart, and in a typically selfless act of love and devotion, he left the radio on NPR. (He prefers the Elvis channel.)
Although I heard only the last couple of minutes of her talk, I grabbed my iPhone and ordered Siri to remind me to listen to the whole thing later. The next morning I opened my school email to find that my campus director, the previously alluded-to-as-fabulous Allisha, had sent me a link to the same talk and a featured commentary.
Rita tells all
Ms. Pierson is an elementary teacher, but what she has to say about teaching points to true north regardless of the ages of our students. I listened to the talk again this morning, and I was struck by how it connected to yesterday’s post about developing relationships with our students. It was especially gratifying to read an editorial in Huff Post by Ms. Pierson in which she states the following:
“Unless there is a connection between teacher, student and lesson, learning becomes tiresome to all involved. Veteran educator, James Comer, states that, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” Yet, the value of relationships is often downplayed or ignored completely in teacher preparation programs. Even more disturbing is the lack of useable information on the relationship building process. There is the belief among some that camaraderie between teachers and students leads to unprofessional familiarity or places the teacher in a weakened position in the classroom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Strong relationships encourage learner exploration, dialogue, confidence, and mutual respect.”
You can read her entire piece—and I promise you, it’s worth the two minutes it takes—by clicking here.
Saving the best for last
She concludes by saying:
“Face to face interactions are seen by many as unnecessary and time-consuming. Of course, we can do just about anything online, including teaching and learning. But I guess I am just old school. I want to look into your eyes when the answer finally dawns on you. I want to hear that inflection in your voice when you are angry with me. I want to see the smile on your face when you forgive me. I want to share in the joy when we both realize that we make a good team.”
Makes me want to stand up and cheer.
Or stand up and teach.
- Rita F. Pierson: WATCH: The Reason Your Elementary School Teacher Matters (huffingtonpost.com)
- Making Connections (helpmehelpyouteach.wordpress.com)
- 20/20 News: Educator Rita F. Pierson Talks About Bond That’s Missing Between Educators & Students (everythinggirlslove.com)