Perhaps no other educator has said so much in such few words that resonate so deeply with me than Dr. Rita Pierson. In her TEDxEducation talk, she said, “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” This quote and its many related forms have been on my mind a lot lately. (see the entire talk here http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion)
Last week, I sat in a crowded performance hall listening to one of my students perform. His name was on the marquee; his fans were cheering; and his family was there to support him. Actually, they have supported him every step of the way on the path to his dream. Even as I was clapping and cheering for him, cognitive dissonance began to kick in. How many of my students will ever see their names on marquees? How many will ever stand before applauding audiences of fans? How many can count their only fans on one hand? What are the implications of this for me, for them, and for their education?
The thoughts are still swimming, not fully formed, in my brain–waiting for time and contemplation to bring them together. This one thought reaches the surface: if any of my students number their fans on the fingers of one hand, I want to be counted among those few fans. I want EVERY STUDENT who enters my classroom this year to know that I’m his/her fan, that I see his/her name in lights, and this I’m giving him/her a standing ovation from the front row of the concert hall.
Will you join me in being a fan and a champion this year?