I remember the moment that I saw the TED talk given by Dr. Rita Pierson like it was yesterday. It gave me shivers, literally. When Dr. Pierson spoke about being a champion for kids, she reminded me of my mother and why I chose to be a teacher. Please take a moment to watch the video below. I dare you to NOT be inspired.
When I was in junior high, my mother used to take me with her to tutor seniors in math so that they could graduate high school. I was tutoring students who were at least 5 years older than me and they were learning…FROM ME. That is when the teaching bug was planted!
I watched her take extra food to school for kids who needed it. I watched as she paid for everything from prom suits and graduation attire to basic school supplies for her students. She was selfless and did it expecting nothing in return. That is the role model that I had growing up and the teacher that I knew I needed to be.
I’ve never told her how her example helped to shape me as a teacher…until I saw Dr. Rita Pierson speak. I immediately called my mother because this woman, who I did not know prior, was speaking what I saw my mother do.
Today, I learned that Dr. Pierson passed and I am eternally grateful for her inspiration and for her example of what a great teacher does. I am even more proud of the fact that her legacy will live on and inspire more teachers to be champions for kids. I am saddened today but excited that in her life, she has touched me.