Rita Pierson entered the teaching profession in 1972 and left a legacy and impact in education that continues to spread far beyond school walls despite her passing in 2013.
As a native of Houston, Texas, Rita Pearson was an ambassador for school/community involvement and was a positive force for children and teachers. She called on teachers to build relationships with their students no matter how challenging it would be. Pierson was known for sharing her example of gestures to bolster student self-esteem in the most specific ways (i.e. how she marked and graded a test). She was an anti-poverty advocate and understood the importance of making a difference in her students' lives as an educator no matter what the cost. She believed in the power and influence of people and spent her life dedicated to the cause.
The importance of relationships
However, Rita is most known for her TED Talk “Every child needs a Champion” where she emphasizes that every child deserves a teacher who will go above and beyond to meet their needs.
Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.