Submitted by Nichelle Harper on Thu, 11/12/2020 - 16:04
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Why Educators Should Know Rita Pierson</span>

Why Educators Should Know Rita Pierson

When faced with the obstacles that often present themselves in a classroom environment, teachers everywhere have a common ground. The truth is, they know that teaching is so much more than just lesson plans, curriculum, and classroom management. When done effectively, all of the elements of teaching come together much smoother if students’ basic needs are met. For these reasons, knowing your students is very important to their success in the classroom. We all have experienced the impact of a passionate educator in our lives. There are specific qualities in a great teacher and leader that help these educators have the ability to reach into students and really understand their needs and begin to meet them. Often teachers run into challenges, especially when those needs are neglected at home. This blog will introduce you to Rita Pierson, a professional educator that has caused a rift in education through her passion for teaching and her leadership as she advocated for school and community involvement.

Rita Pierson was a professional educator since 1972 but her legacy and impact in education continue to spread far beyond school walls. 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.

 Rita Pierson was no ordinary educator! She was extraordinary and brought a little extra energy into her many years as an educator.  Throughout her career, she assumed many roles including elementary regular and special education teacher, junior high school teacher, counselor, assistant principal, director, testing coordinator, consultant, and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). She has also conducted professional development training and seminars for thousands of educators for over a decade. Some of her work includes the following;


  • Frameworks
    • Understanding Poverty
    • Under-Resourced Learners
    • Engage and Graduate Your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts, Research-Based Strategies, Evening Workshop with Parents
    • Reclaiming the Classroom: Discipline and Working with Parents


  • Books
    • Hidden Rules of Class at Work
    • What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty. 
    • Teaching on Your Feet: 10 lessons on being a master teacher (Audio CD) and Rita’s Stories (DVD).


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. The following videos are some of Rita Pierson's best speaking engagements:


Video: Every Child Needs a Champion



Video: What about Jack



Video: My Momma Said


Rita F. Pierson died on June 28, 2013, at the age of 61. Her passionate and powerful speeches moved viewers around the country and quickly became favorite to all who understand the importance of educators. We will never forget the difference Pierson made through her tireless work as both an educator of 40 years and a staunch anti-poverty advocate. Thanks to her legacy and vision, we now have her inspirational words of wisdom to look back on. She is a reflection of every teacher at heart and emanates what it takes to take steps past just average instruction and into holistic teaching and education. 


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