Day 124: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson understands how to get the best out of kids. Her qualification is that she has been a teacher for over forty years, following her mother and grandmother into the profession. One day a colleague told her that she wasn’t paid to, ‘like the kids.’ Pierson’s simple answer was that kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.
The reasons for school drop out are well documented; family problems, poverty, social issues. What is seldom discussed is the need to form bonds to keep kids in school. George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships.
Pierson has learnt a few things about relationships. She understands the importance of apologising; once she taught a lesson wrong and the kids were amazed when she apologised the following day. When she needed to motivate a class she told them they’d been chosen for her as they were the best students. She also gave them a mantra, where they affirmed that they had places to go, people to impress and would be better students when they left.
Pierson’s mother was a great role model for her. She watched her go on home visits, buy crackers for kids who didn’t eat and a wash cloth for those who hadn’t washed and saw the number of ex students who arrived at her mother’s funeral. While teachers may not like all the kids, the class should never know it. Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them.


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