Sometimes it is important to take the time to examine how we work and how we can do better. Professional development is somewhat about that, but I’m talking more about personal development. We’re all human – we can get stuck in our routines before we know it, and pretty soon those habits are hard to break.
The TED talks below are three that we’ve selected because we think they’re important reminders to us as humans. They talk about inspiring, leading, believing, and feeling. They’re applicable to teaching but they’re not always about teaching specifically. They’re about being human, and interacting with other humans, and we think they’ll give you a little inspiration in your life and in your classroom.
The title of this one says it all – every kid does need a champion. Former educator and administrator Rita Pierson puts out a call to educators everywhere to connect with their students on a human level and to believe in them. Every classroom teacher needs this reminder every now and again!
Rita Pierson was a former teacher and administrator turned professional development seminar leader. Her work focused on working with and inspiring traditionally underrepresented groups, and helping each student to understand that they and their progress mattered. Rita passed away in June 2013.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was from a brilliant but flippant high school English teacher. I’m sure that this particular teacher has no idea that her discussion of her kids’ careers would affect anyone, but she described her son’s road to success has having been paved by ‘fake it till you make it’. She talked about how he dressed the part and talked the talk and walked the walk until he actually made it happen. Your body language and self- confidence can go a long way to get you what you want – and Amy Cuddy explains this in her talk.
Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist best known for her research on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, and nonverbal behavior. She is on the faculty at Harvard Business School, and is all-around really interesting, so take a look at her research if you haven’t heard of her already.
Simon Sinek is the author of a book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009), which explores the concept of why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages, and organizations over others. Sinek attributes this to a naturally occurring pattern of human decision making, and has created the idea of a ‘golden circle’, which is his model for inspirational leadership.
This talk is a great little kick in the pants to remind us (whether we’re teachers or not) how to be an effective, inspiring leader whether you’re in the classroom or out in life.