June 18th, 2024

TikTok sensation inspires students to achieve potential


By Lethbridge Herald on February 15, 2023.

Herald Photo by Ry Clarke Jon Hansen, TikTok handle @jon_inspires, hangs with students before giving a talk on self confidence, inspiring the promotion of self love, Tuesday at Wilson Middle School

Ry Clarke

Lethbridge Herald

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Students at Wilson Middle School got to meet TikTok sensation Jon Hansen of “jon_inspires” during an assembly on Tuesday.

 Hansen is a national speaker and performance coach who has amassed a following of 1.3 million on the platform giving inspirational messages to his audience and helping turn their insecurity and self-doubt into confidence.

When he isn’t making videos for TikTok, Hansen tours the country, going to schools to give talks centered around his theme of self-assurance and self-love. 

“I was a teacher for almost two decades, from kindergarten to grade 12. The one thing that really stood out to me is how much students battle with their own sense of self worth and confidence. They need that underlying baseline level of worth before learning can really happen,” said Hansen.

“It started with my teaching career. I would use my classes – I taught a lot of health education – to test my material and to see what stuck and what didn’t. After that I found this message really resonated with kids. I went on a little hiatus from my teaching job to try it out in other schools. I tried it for a bit before the pandemic hit. Now I’ve left my teaching career and I’m doing this full time as a job.”

Hansen was inspired to use TikTok as a medium when students urged him to spread his message on a platform they were familiar with. “I was like, ‘I’m not doing this, I don’t lip sync or dance.’ But they kept saying go do it. That I have cool lessons and should talk about them,” said Hansen.

“After a while it blew up, and I looked at who my audience was, a large percentage of my audience was the younger demographic, so from there I had the confidence to keep this type of thing going.”

Sharing personal stories and relating with his audience, Hansen looks to inspire through positive reinforcement, helping show his audience their potential in self achievement. 

“When I was a kid, I struggled with the concept of comparing myself to other people, and then losing to that comparison in my own mind and feeling worse about myself,” said Hansen.

“In this world of social media, kids are constantly comparing themselves to other people. The main message that I want kids to understand is their value and their worth. It doesn’t change based on the success of other people, or what others are up to.”

Faculty at Wilson Middle see the importance of bringing in speakers like Hansen, noting the connections he is able to forge with students due to his social media presence.

 “We are always trying to find ways we can work with the students to make a better outcome or impact on what we are trying to do,” said Dean Hawkins, principal at Wilson. 

“In middle school, you deal daily with confidence and self image. If we can give somebody, even just one of two kids, the ability to believe more in themselves by having people come in, that’s the goal. Making sure kids know there are people that care for them.”

Sharing inspiration with youth around the global and in the classroom, Hansen walks the walk and talks the talk, giving thoughtful advice to build confidence, with techniques that lead to success, hoping to nurture younger minds as they grow. 

“This message is like a seed, for some students the fruit will blossom today, some next week, others a month, some will take years. But the seed has been planted, and I truly believe that at the right time, they will see a harvest from that message,” said Hansen.

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