The Best TED Talks for Educators

March 6, 2017
best TED talks for educators lifestyle blogger North Dallas Blog Blogger Love You More Too

One of my favorite things about being a school counselor is classroom counseling lessons, or guidance lessons.  It is my chance to interact with every child, and I get to do what I love, encourage.  Some of my favorite lessons have been ones where I show a motivating video and have great discussions. If you search, you can find a  TED Talk video to cover just about everything.  Over the years, I have found some great, motivating videos to use in schools.  I rounded up 5 of the best TED talks for educators to share with students and staff.

For students

Here are a few age-appropriate TED talks to show students or use in classroom guidance lessons.  These are great for starting wonderful discussions with your class.

Three tips to boost your confidence

Educators all over the globe are teaching mindset, or the beliefs about yourself and your qualities, lessons to children.  This video explains the difference between growth and fixed mindsets.  Use it to start a discussion about confidence and perseverance.   “The excitement you’ll feel knowing that whatever the result you’ll have gained better knowledge and understanding- this is confidence.”

How do you define yourself?

In one of my recent counseling meetings with my school district, several counselors talked about this powerful video. Lizzie Velasquez was once called “the ugliest woman alive” and after hearing her story, you will know that is the furthest thing from the truth.  In this 13 minute video, Lizzie describes her rare disorder, the hardships she’s faced, and how she defines herself.  She challenges viewers to find out “what defines you?”

I showed this video to the 5th graders at my school and did an adapted version of Education World’s Positive Traits lesson. Before I showed the video, I explained that the person they were about to see has a rare disorder and may look different than what they were used to.  My students have never been more attentive than when I showed this video. I wish I videoed the discussion afterwards, because it was beautiful.  They talked about how Lizzie is “inspiring, has a great sense of humor, is courageous, beautiful” and someone they would love to meet.

After the discussion, every student wrote their name on a piece of paper.  They dropped their name into a bucket and each pulled out a name of one of their classmates.  Then, they had to illustrate a sheet of paper with 3 positive character traits about themselves and write one trait to describe the classmate they drew out of the bucket.  Once everyone finished, each student shared “my positive traits are _____, _____, and ______.  I drew ______ and one of his/her positive traits is ________.”  Once students shared their 3 traits and heard their trait from their classmate, they had to pick a favorite and illustrate it to hang in the hallway.

best TED talks for educators lifestyle blogger North Dallas Blog Blogger Love You More Too

Overcoming obstacles

Steven Claunch was born without fingers on his right hand, and his right leg was several inches shorter.  In this animated video, he shares stories of overcoming obstacles and challenges viewers to do the same.  This inspirational video is a great way to encourage students with and without disabilities.  “If someone thinks you can’t overcome the obstacles- prove them wrong.”

For staff

Teaching, counseling, and working in a school is hard.  Sometimes we can feel defeated, exhausted, and forget that the work we do every day matters.  Here are a couple of motivating TED Talks to show at your next staff meeting, send to a coworker, or send to someone who may need some extra warm fuzzies.

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

If you have not shared this powerful video with every educator you know, please do so now.  Rita Pierson reminds us that “every child deserves a champion-an adult who will never give up on them who understand the power of connection and insists they become the best they can be.”  Whatever your role in your school is, you have the ability to be that champion to a child.

Drew Dudely “Leading with Lollipops”

In this Ted Talk, Drew Dudley describes redefining leadership in a way that is sure to make you smile. Your students may never tell you the impact you have on them, but “every single one of you has been the catalyst for a lollipop moment. You have someone’s life better by something you said or that you did.”


Please share this with friends in education who may need some inspiration.

Read more education related posts here.

PIN for later

What are your favorite TED talks for educators? Leave me a comment below.

  • Bobbi March 6, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Great topics and very helpful even for the non-teacher educator. I really like the Lizzie Velasquez but they are all excellent!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Thanks, dear! I am glad you found them helpful. LIzzie is fantastic. My kids asked if I could bring her to our school. haha.

  • Jamie Fray March 6, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Jessica–once more you have blown me away with your heart. It shines through in every post on your blog, and this one truly stands out. Thank you for your dedication to encouraging others, and for building up children. Fabulous post that I am pinning for later 🙂

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Jamie, Thank you so much!! This comment made my day yesterday. I love my kiddos and hope that I inspire them to share kindness and love with everyone they meet. If that is all they remember from my lessons then I have done great. 😉

  • Sara March 6, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Geoffrey Canada: Enough is Enough
    Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
    Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work (for kids and adults)

    I recognize a few of these, but I’ll be checking out the others. Thanks!!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Oooo!! I am going to check out the ones you mentioned. I just love TED talks and find so much inspiration from them.

  • Beth March 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I look forward to watching these! Thanks for a fab list!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Thank you, Beth. I hope you enjoy them and find inspiration.

  • Renee groskreutz March 6, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Wow this is a powerful list of videos here. These remind us to slow down and really think about the people and the world around us.

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Yes! Good summary of the videos. Glad you liked them!

  • Laura March 6, 2017 at 9:50 am

    These are great! Ted talks can be so powerful and engaging!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

      They really are! I am so thankful for them. 🙂

  • Anne | onedeterminedlife March 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I love TED talks!! We just got this channel on our tv so I should go check these out. These look great.

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

      Thanks! I hope you love them! They are inspiring.

  • Katie March 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I love Ted Talks so much! I’m going to have to buckle down and watch some of these this afternoon!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

      I hope you enjoyed them! They really are inspirational. (and short!)

  • Natalie March 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Lizzie Velasquez is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing this list. TED Talks are great!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

      She is! My kids love her and want to meet her so badly!

  • Dominique March 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I love using video’s like these to spark off discussion in the classroom. I will have to add them to my list! One of my favourites is Nick Vujicic – he is a man that has no limbs and has overcome some amazing challenges, very inspiring for young people (and for anyone really!) 🙂

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Yes!! He is fantastic. I love his too. 🙂

  • Sharon March 7, 2017 at 5:26 am

    I love all of these! I’m not a teacher but I think showing these to my future children would be so powerful. I love the way you used the Ted Talk to spark discussion with your students. It sounds like it was a powerful activity for all of them!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Yes!! As a school counselor, I thank you for thinking about how to encourage your own (future) children at home. These are great and I know there will be even more.

  • Penny Struebig March 7, 2017 at 5:45 am

    These sound amazing! I’ll have to check some of them out I’m not a teacher, but they some of them still sound like they would be resourceful in the workplace.

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

      They are great for the workplace. Especially the lollipop one!

  • jessica March 7, 2017 at 9:36 am

    i always love finding TEDtalks i haven’t seen yet and most of these are new to me, thanks for sharing (:

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Yay! Well, I hope you enjoy them! They are so inspiring.

  • Brittany Giles March 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm


    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Yes! It really is! I am exhausted, but love to remind myself it’s okay. 🙂

  • Melissa Chee March 7, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I love Ted Talks – these look like some great ones!

    • Jessica March 8, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Melissa! I hope you enjoy them!

  • All About Zoe's March 9, 2017 at 7:30 am

    These are perfect! Thank you for sharing, Ted Talks are amazing.