Thank you, Rita Pierson

This woman speaks powerful truths about the world of education and the role of teachers. If you haven’t seen it already, I encourage you to watch her TedTalk, Every Kid Needs A Champion before you continue reading (guaranteed to give you a few laughs and your daily dose of motivation).

Is this job tough? You betcha. Oh God, you betcha. But it is not impossible. We can do this.

How does education relate to development? In some ways, it’s quite obvious. Education is when an individual or a group of people impact the masses – big and small. As is development. Education is learning that is structured by theories and disciplines. As is development. Education can be a chaotic mess. As can development. Educators can be left hopeless, confused, burnt out and unmotivated. As can development practitioners.

There’s another side to it too – a correlation that focuses more on the beauty of education and development than the faults of the structure.

It’s about the value of human connection; of relationships.

Rita Pierson, TedTalk extraordinaire, says it the best: “Can we stand to have more relationships? Absolutely…we come to work when we don’t feel like it, and we’re listening to policy that doesn’t make sense and we [work] anyway. We [work] anyway, because that’s what we do.”

Relationships, the most meaningful of them, are twofold: we are enriched as we are enriching. Limits of relationships extend past the boundaries of education and development. It happens in our everyday lives and demands to be enriching.

This serves as an important reminder for my upcoming 8 month placement in September. Connect well and connect often – on a real, human, personal level. Drawing inspiration from Stephen Covey, Rita insists that the secret to relationships is that we should seek first to understand as opposed to being understood. Or it could be even simpler, like apologizing. So thank you, Rita Pierson. It’s a lesson duly noted.

You ought to just throw in a few simple things, like seeking first to understand, as opposed to being understood. Simple things, like apologizing.You ever thought about that? Tell a kid you’re sorry, they’re in shock.

Rephrasing Rita’s closing statement may be the best way to close this blog:

“Every person deserves a champion, someone who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insist that they become the best that they can be.”

****************************************************************************************** Feel free to share your thoughts on this TedTalk below! Even better, share one of your favourite videos – funny, inspiring and everything in between. 


Don’t Be A Sheepwalker

Take a minute to think about where you are at this moment. What is itching to be changed around you? What do you see in the status quo that doesn’t make sense to you?

That’s the premise of Seth Godin’s TED Talk, The Tribes We Lead. Right off the bat, Godin argues that we naturally want to see big, important and permanent change. And when he says everyone, he means everyone. How can this be done, you may ask? By connecting and leading the people and ideas in our tribes.

Tribes can be found everywhere these days. As students, it’s easy to connect with people who have the same interests on campus and around the community. If we can’t find a group with the same values around us, we can easily hop online and connect with people who do. The beauty of this generation is that tribes are popping up everywhere. As long as our values, interests and passions align within our tribes, our tribes can be used to create revolutionary change.

However, something that Godin neglects to clarify is that change doesn’t need to be on the same scale as the examples he uses. The change that The Beatles, Hugo Chavez and Bob Marley brought to their tribes, while inspiring, was initially discouraging. How can I, clumsy and mildly disorganized (that’s a lie, very disorganized – sorry mom) extraordinaire, lead a group of people to bring change of that magnitude?

Then it hit me.

While I currently don’t see myself in any position to create a grand movement, I believe it’ll eventually come to all of us. When you discover your passion, it becomes your life. Wouldn’t you say your life is everything to you? So in that way, can’t we say that the change that you and I will bring will be great and larger than life?

Maybe you’re like me and you find your interests stretched out so thinly that you don’t even know where to begin. One thing that I’m learning to come to terms with is that that’s okay. With time and dedication, we’ll find our way.

It may not be today, tomorrow or the next day. But I urge you to continue to ignite your passion, fuel your curiosity, stir a movement and break the status quo. Wake up and realize your potential. Stop being what Godin calls a sheepwalker –  you are not meant to shuffle along with your head down.


What’s your take on tribes? What are you passionate about? What’s stopping you from fulfilling them?