How to Raise Successful People

Featuring Esther Wojcicki.

Classroom teacher, bestselling author, teacher, entrepreneur in the EdTech industry. Esther Wojcicki is one of the most influential educators of our time, having been called “the Godmother of Silicon Valley”. Join us as she shares her unique take on how to raise successful people, and how there is a simple recipe for being a great teacher and mother.

(Music by lesfm from Pixabay)

Episode notes:

  • The education system needs help.
  • Take lessons we learned from COVID about online learning.
  • Calm down about the learning loss.

Everybody is worried about losing a year but we need to stop that message.

  • More than 50% of school is memorization.
  • My theory is they learned something else; it is not a learning loss, it is a learning difference.
  • Reading rate can be made up quickly.
  • Some countries start school a year later and they still do well.
  • Opportunity for students to have acquired more maturity and they will learn these skills faster.
  • We can easily compensate for Math and Reading online.

Online learning is a great supplement for schools; it is just not a great main course.

  • High school administration loves it when kids write about trivial school events such as dances, games.
  • They don´t want to know what kids think, they just want them to graduate.
  • Giving kids control a real world curriculum and allowing them to collaborate attracted many students.
  • To get them to write and design as professionals, give students control.
  • Show them what the professional world looks like, and let them emulate it.
  • The only people who read the 4000-word essay are professors, and they get paid to read them, though they wish they didn´t have to do it.
  • Students do peer editing and they find in other students’ work what they would not find on their own.

Kids want to write about things that matter to them.

  • Administrators are always very worried about parents, but I had a lot of support from parents.
  • Parents don’t think about themselves as teachers, but they are the first teachers.
  • Parents play a huge role, they need to empower their child, make that child feel that they are good and they can accomplish anything that they set out to do.
  • Helicopter parenting, they clear the way. You are making the child more dependent on you.
  • One goal as a parent, to make them as independent as possible as early as possible.
  • You cannot clear the way too much, you have to allow your child to have obstacles in life and learn how to deal with it.
  • We can do much more controlling of our children because of the Internet.
  • One of the excuses for control is that parents think that the world is more dangerous than before, and data shows that it is less dangerous.
  • Tract is built with the idea of how older kids can help younger kids, it is a peer to peer model.
  • Teachers are starting to understand the power of kids feeling good about themselves, if they are empowered they are much easier to teach.
  • Schools now are entirely focused on standards, they learn, they take a test where is the creativity?

By the time they are in 12th grade, only 5% of the class is creative.

  • The best way to learn to be a good leader is to teach.
  • More leaders in the world, more kids that feel they are capable of teaching others.
  • The most important thing you want is to get your kid excited about learning.
  • The number one skill that employers are looking for now is creativity and collaboration, and you don´t learn that with rigor.
  • What makes Silicon Valley different is that people are open to creative and crazy ideas.
  • The mindset is that it is OK to be a little crazy.

Wish: More respect for students and their ideas. Giving them some control of their learning.


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1 thought on “How to Raise Successful People”

  1. Esther thanks for sharing. Wonderful reflections. I believe that both parents and educators should focus on empowering children. We need to educate happy and confident leaders. To achieve this, I totally agree with you. We need to learn about their interests, we need to give them control or put them in charge and we need to show them what’s really happening. Online learning and motivation are fantastic resources. Gaby, Esther, it has been a pleasure.


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