Nika Maples | Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

Nika Maples

Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

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Nika Maples
Featured Keynote Programs

Laughter is the Best Medicine
Learning to Use Life’s Most Powerful Tool

In her most popular keynote, Nika shares some of her embarrassing moments as Texas Teacher of the Year and reminds us of the importance of laughter through the touching account of her lifelong struggle with chronic illness. “Joy is a treasure, and like any treasure, it must be hunted and excavated. There is work involved. Joyful people make it look easy, don’t they? We are so captivated by their smile and energy that we overlook the dirt underneath their fingernails. They have been digging—sometimes in the dark mine of a situation they didn’t want—in order to strike the thin, gold vein of contentment.”

The Ricochet
Waiting for a Good Return

The classroom and the marketplace are not as different as one might think. Both teachers and business people are “selling” something of value to, at times, skeptical consumers. With humor and emotion, Nika offers insight into ways that we can shift our perspective to selflessly serve others and reach our own goals at the same time. “When it comes to goal-setting, success simply aims for a target, while excellence waits for the ricochet of positivity. Step back and and take a look at the terrain. It may never be this treacherous again, but these are the adventures you will tell the new guys someday.”

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Working Together to Make Work Better

Nothing invigorates productivity like a trustworthy and enjoyable environment. Through the humorous stories of some “freaky neighbors” she has had over the years, Nika illustrates the reality that everyone has a a different story, and it is that variety that makes our working community beautiful. “Some friction is good! Learn to disagree well. Courteous conflict makes you better practitioners, but only if you question yourself as much as you question your colleagues.”

May the Force Be with You
Engaging the Mystery of Student Motivation

Through a workshop format that is ideal for professional development, Nika opens the door of her classroom via photographs and videos of her students at work and play. Participants engage in small groups and walk away with new ideas to add excitement and interest to their lessons. “Students come to us with all kinds of wounds, some potentially fatal to their success. Our classrooms are intensive care units, and we are the academic physicians. We must never remove educational life support. We must never give up or stop caring. Without the component of caring, a classroom is just a room. Without the component of caring, a teacher is just a bystander. For a few students, one dedicated teacher can mean the difference between a lifetime of paralysis or truly moving forward.”

Student Under Construction
Building Academics Upon a Foundation of Character

Encouraging teachers and parents to focus on honor as an entryway to academics, Nika outlines the tenants of good character. “Strong character and a sense of self uplift the human spirit. We must emphasize integrity. Integrity will take kids where they need to go. By upholding lives of virtue ourselves, by maintaining personal and professional standards, we illustrate the manner in which success is achieved. Not through the back door, but through the front.”

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Nika Maples

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