“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” In memory of Dr. Rita Pierson, a great educator who left us too early…

by | Aug 25, 2013

“Every kid needs a champion,” TED Talks…

Published on May 3, 2013

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.”

Remembering Educator, Rita Pierson…

The TED community was deeply saddened to hear that Rita Pierson, whose powerful, funny, heartfelt talk kicked off TED Talks Education just a few months ago, died June 28, 2013 in Texas, at age 61.



My wife, Judy, encouraged me to listen to Rita Pierson’s talk.  Without question this delightful and passionate educator with a powerful voice will be remembered for generations to come.  She was the kind of teacher that kids love and never forget.  Kids learn far more from teachers like Rita Pierson because she educated with her heart, love of children and work as a teacher.  I know from my own childhood experience that teachers who made a difference were the ones who showed an interest in me, and made me feel good about myself.  Teachers like Rita Pierson become mentors to countless children during their careers in education.  Connecting with kids and building relationships are the qualities of great teachers and mentors.  Many kids come to school not feeling the best on any day because of  the typical challenges growing up and sometimes from living in toxic homes and neighborhoods before and after-school.

Listening to Rita Pierson was highly encouraging and motivating to me because of my own work with K-12 kids as a board member of Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, OR.  Parents, educators and community leaders everywhere should listen to Rita Pierson’s passionate talk.  We are fortunate to have captured Rita’s legacy for all to benefit for generations to come…  Please remember Rita Pierson and her family in your prayers…  

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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