Rita F Pierson, educator, believes kids cannot learn without building strong human relationships. In a Ted Talk, she talked about why teachers need to connect with children on a personal level to encourage education.
“James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships,” Pierson said.
And this holds true for even the toughest of kids in the classroom. “You know your toughest kids are never absent. Never. You won’t like them all, and the tough ones show up for a reason. It’s the connection. It’s the relationships. So teachers become great actors and great actresses, and we come to work when we don’t feel like it, and we’re listening to policy that doesn’t make sense, and we teach anyway. We teach anyway, because that’s what we do,” she stated.
In her talk, the educator shared a number of anecdotes of her personal journey as a teacher who strived to build a healthy and friendly relationship with her students. Talking about her mother, who was also an educator, she added, “For years, I watched my mother take the time at recess to review, go on home visits in the afternoon, buy combs and brushes and peanut butter and crackers to put in her desk drawer for kids that needed to eat, and a washcloth and some soap for the kids who didn’t smell so good. See, it’s hard to teach kids who stink.”
Every child needs an adult who will never give up on them, said Pierson. “Teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be,” she emphasised.
Watch the video here: