Be your own champion!

I think most educators are familiar with the TED talk by Rita Pierson. She boldly stated that every child deserves a champion. “Kids today” need adults to guide them, encourage them, and help them to become more than the child ever thought he or she could become. 

What I’ve come to realize through many years in education with many different experiences is that the ability to champion someone else starts with being our own champion. 

This is where the theory and the practice get muddled. In theory, we can say, “I can be my own champion.” But in practice… it’s a rollercoaster.

The knowing-doing gap is easily understood in a food / healthy eating analogy. We know the foods that are “good” for us (nutritious) and the ones that we should avoid based on our health and fitness goals. When we KNOW what we should eat and we choose to eat something that does not align with our goals, there’s a gap there. A knowing-doing gap. (This gap can be found in most areas of our lives, sometimes wider, sometimes smaller… but this analogy seems to resonate with many, many people, whether they have a knowing-doing gap in this area or not.)

Have you noticed that when you get ready to be a champion and begin to work at being a champion, you are faced with cynics, dreamstealers, and complacency? 

Have you ever had someone to say to you, 

“Are you sure that you’re the right person for that?”

Or what about… “I don’t think that’s going to work.”

I once had a teacher say to me: “I never trust a female in an authority position.” 

In the case of Rita Pierson’s quote, “Every child deserves a champion…” maybe you’ve heard people say, 

“It IS what it IS with THOSE kids.”   or   “If he doesn’t care, why should I care?”

This past year, 2020, has shown us all kinds of difficulties and challenges. It has caused us to pivot in ways we didn’t know we could, and it forced us to create a new dialogue and perspective about education, how we lead, and what we value. 

As we approach the close of the calendar year, we begin to think about what the rest of the school year will look like and how we will be different in 2021. I challenge all of you to join me in this journey. Let’s be our own champions so that we can champion others. We are going to face negative people and those who think it can’t be done. Let’s change the narrative. Let’s not wait on someone else to do that; let’s take the lead on having hope, doing the work, and forging ahead. 

Over the holidays, my husband and I broke out the Table Topics conversation starters while we waited on friends to arrive, and the question on the card read (and I paraphrase), “If you could be witness to any sporting event, what would it be?” 

The event I chose was when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile record in 1956. Until Bannister did it, no one believed that the mile could be run in less than 4 minutes. 

What a legacy that has been left by Roger Bannister and Rita Pierson! It has me asking the question of myself, What legacy will you leave?

Teach like a champion. Walk like a champion. Talk like a champion. Lead like a champion. Work like a champion. Love like a champion.

Bring it on, 2021!  

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Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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