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Talia Graves
Brian Ray
Composition II
Rhetorical Analysis
Education, is in many people's opinions, one of the single most important growing
aspects to have in one's life. Those who educate us can become either one of our most intuitive
and inspirational figures, or simply people who we dread seeing every day in the classroom. That
is one of the many powers of education, to either make you or break you, to either shape you into
the person you strive to be, or shy you away from your true potential. What many dont realize or
either fail to ignore, is the absolute impact that not only educators have on students, but the
impacts students have on educators as well. Rita Pierson, an inspiring role model for educators
and students, capitalizes on just that in her famous Ted Talk, Build relationships with your
students. She uses great emotion and identifies a problem by appealing to us both logically and
In this Ted talk Pierson brings a major problem often put in the shadows, back to light.
She speaks about her experience in the classroom, and provides an argumentative approach to
prove to teachers that forming relationships with their students is one of the most important
aspects to bring to the table in regarding their success. As she states, A colleague said to me one
time they dont pay me to like the kids, they pay me to teach a lesson, the kid should learn it and
I should teach it. Case closed. Pierson replied to her, You know, students dont learn from
people they dont like. This gives the audience a clear idea of how Pierson goes about her

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teaching, and makes her argument for teachers forming a relationship with their students even
more precise.
Rita Pita does an effective job with her emotional approaches with pathos that it brought
someone who wasn't even in the educational field to tears. She identifies a problem and states
what she did to solve it. She often states that she has had students who have been homeless, who
are the main supporters of their family, who can't make it to school because they have to watch
their siblings or take care of a sick parent. Pierson tells her audience, formed with mostly
teachers of some sort, that she has had students that never show to class and that she has so badly
wanted to give up on them, but she didnt. Every child deserves a champion, an adult that will
never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become
the best they can possibly be. She uses relative issues that societies children deal with today, but
although the circumstances were tough and success for these students seemed highly
unfavorable, they were not impossible. That key point is something Pierson does an excellent job
at pointing out, that just because a student has a lot of issues, that doesnt give teachers a good
enough reason to let them fail. Her point here made me think of my step dad, who dropped out of
high school when he was only 16 because his mom lost her job and was having a lot of medical
issues. He never learned much because he couldnt make many classes, and his teachers didnt
seem to care so much. If his teachers didnt care, then why should he? Even though this took
place in the late 80s, I saw this a lot when I was in high school myself.

Throughout Piersons Ted talk, she provided examples of her classes quite often.
In one quote she states how she has had classes that were so low academically that she cried. She
was at a loss of what to do next, and wondered how she would raise her students confidence in

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the classroom. The next day she told her students, you were chosen to be in this class because I
am the best teacher and you are the best students, they put us all together so we could show
everybody else how its done. This proved to work, and her students began putting in more
effort into their homework and into their studying. Pierson proves that putting confidence in your
students and giving a little extra effort helps students progress in their studies. Pierson states an
issue, shows how she solved it and how she believes other people should solve it too, and gives
statistical evidence from her own classes on how the success rate went up. By doing this, Pierson
uses a great sense of logos in her Ted Talk, giving logical reason to her points.
Pierson states that her mother and both of her maternal grandparents have worked in the
education field as educators, and for the past 40 years, so has she. She shows great intuition, and
an even great reason for her audience to trust what she is saying. Through much experience
comes the findings of truth, the truth in Rita Piersons words come from what she has gone
through. Therefore, the fact that Pierson states that at the beginning of her Ted talk gave the
audience a reason to listen, and was very beneficial in how the audience interpreted her
arguments. By doing this. Pierson does a great job at analyzing pathos in her talk, and correctly
identifying the right time to use it.
Rita Piersons Ted Talk is nothing short of an inspiration to teachers, and even students
like myself as well. She proves that just because your circumstances dont match up to who you
want to be, doesnt mean that becoming what you want is impossible. She gives great appeals
towards every reason she identifies through experience, whether it be statistical evidence,
emotion, or intuition, experience in the field is what gave Rita Pearson such excellent

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Rita shows her dedication to her students through all appeals, and gives a great argument
for teachers to never give up on their kids, because every kid needs a champion. This Ted Talk
is not only an important and hot topic in our daily society, but its relatable to many people, both
young and older. Pierson states that everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or by
an adult, and through this quote she shows the truths in the importance of her talk. That being
not only a good teacher, but a good mentor to your students is one of the most valuable things
somebody could have in their life, especially at such a growing age, where positive mentors
really have an impact on how someone grows up.
On a more so personal note, this Ted Talk is something that I related to immensely. When
I was in high school I missed a lot of classes due to having to babysit my sisters while my mom
was at work, this caused my grades to be highly affected. Without my principal, who had
followed my class through middle school to our senior year in high school, I would not have
graduated. He saw potential in me, and through the years we gained a bond that became
personal, all because he saw the importance of relationships, which is a major point Pierson
brings up in her Ted talk. I dont know why I was chose to have such major support when I really
needed it the most, but I am to this day very thankful. Because I know that sadly, not every kid is
blessed to have somebody pushing them to succeed.
Rita Pierson showed me, as well as any sort of audience who watched her Ted Talk, that
what she was talking about was important. Rita Pierson was a great reliable source to be
speaking on this topic. She makes people aware of the problem that goes on in the educational
system just by simple tactics of persuasion and reason, and overall the Ted Talk was far more
than informative, but much more inspirational than anything.

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Your paper has a lot of detail, and youre obviously passionate about this topic. The
writing is clear and specific. My main suggestion, though, is to practice a more critical attitude
not in a negative sense, but discussing possible weaknesses that some audiences would find.
Although many teachers would agree with her points about liking your students and believing in
them, they could still find some oversights. For example, is Pierson ignoring or dismissing other
crucial factors like teacher burnout, salaries, over-regulation of schools, over-testing, and other
problems? Ive known many talented and dedicated teachers have to quit because they couldnt
support their families, or they were fired for questionable reasons. Tentative Grade: B+

Work Cited
Pierson, Rita. "Transcript of "Every Kid Needs a Champion"" Rita Pierson: Every Kid
Needs a Champion. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.