3 Inspiring TED Talks for Teachers as You Head Back to School


Do you need some encouragement as you face the start of a new school year? Check out these inspiring TED talks for an extra boost of motivation as you head back to school!

Every Kid Needs a Champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, shares how kids need educators who can relate with and believe in them. It’s not just about teaching a lesson plan and testing students, but also connecting with them on a real, human level.

“James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships. Everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult. For years, I have watched people teach. I have looked at the best and I’ve looked at some of the worst.

A colleague said to me one time, “They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it, Case closed.”

Well, I said to her, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”


3 Rules to Spark Learning

Ramsey Musallam, a chemistry teacher for 13 years, shares how three rules can spark imagination and learning in students: curiosity and questions; embracing the mess; and practicing reflection. Ramsey more fully discusses how student questions are the seeds of real learning. He offers examples of his own experiences that helped him add spark to lesson plans.

“…the truth is, I’ve been teaching for 13 years now, and it took a life-threatening situation to snap me out of 10 years of pseudo-teaching and help me realize that student questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that gave them tidbits of random information.

In May of 2010, at 35 years old, with a two-year-old at home and my second child on the way, I was diagnosed with a large aneurysm at the base of my thoracic aorta. This led to open-heart surgery. This is the actual real email from my doctor right there. Now, when I got this, I was — press Caps Lock — absolutely freaked out, okay? But I found surprising moments of comfort in the confidence that my surgeon embodied. Where did this guy get this confidence, the audacity of it?

So when I asked him, he told me three things. He said first, his curiosity drove him to ask hard questions about the procedure, about what worked and what didn’t work. Second, he embraced, and didn’t fear, the messy process of trial and error, the inevitable process of trial and error. And third, through intense reflection, he gathered the information that he needed to design and revise the procedure, and then, with a steady hand, he saved my life.”

Teach Teachers How to Create Magic

Christopher Emdin shares how teachers can make classroom learning come alive to help students be more engaged in their studies. He explains how education can enlighten students minds when there is magic in learning, which can be brought to life by teachers in the classroom.

“Now people oftentimes say, “Well, magic is just magic.” There are teachers who, despite all their challenges, who have those skills, get into those schools and are able to engage an audience, and the administrator walks by and says, “Wow, he’s so good, I wish all my teachers could be that good.” And when they try to describe what that is, they just say, “He has that magic.”

But I’m here to tell you that magic can be taught. Magic can be taught. Magic can be taught. Now, how do you teach it? You teach it by allowing people to go into those spaces where the magic is happening.”




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