Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

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Teach Like a Pirate- Chapter 1…finally!

on June 19, 2013

Okay so yeah.  Remember when I mentioned that I was doing a couple of book studies hosted at some other blogs?  Well I’m finally getting things in gear and posting about them.  And I’m waaaaaaayyyyyy late.  They’ve already gotten to Chapter 4…yeah…okay.  Better late than never I guess!  So without further ado, here’s my first one:

This book is sooooooo awesome and I highly recommend it!  I’m struggling to keep up only because getting the house back together and a demanding 4-year-old keeps me from reading at normal hours of the day.  I only get time at night.  But it truly is an easy read and before I know it I’m hooked!  I had actually heard of this book from Donna Boucher at Math Coach’s Corner and I remember thinking I should get my hands on this book.  Well when I saw a book study being done for the summer I knew then that I NEEDED to get my hands on this book.  So I did.

Dave Burgess has this book in three parts.  In the first part, the titles of the chapters spell out “pirate”.  But before you start that there was a little introduction and I want to share with you a couple of quotes and why I like them:

“Teaching like a pirate has nothing to do with the dictionary definition and everything to do with the spirit.”

Okay wow.  Spirit.  When I read that I immediately thought about the last example of a pirate that made me really believe it was a pirate and of course I thought of Captain Jack Sparrow!  He is a pirate through and through and soooooo into it to!  So I knew then that I needed to give my spirit a restart and get soooooo into teaching.  If you read on from there, Burgess gives more examples and they certainly fit my visual to a t!

“In these challenging and changing times, our students need leaders who are willing to venture forward without a clear map to explore new frontiers.”

Can we say profound here?  I try to walk in my room everyday thinking that I needed to be an example to my kiddos that makes them want to try in all that they do and learn as much as possible.  But some days it’s really hard.  Let’s correct that.  Some weeks it’s really hard.  What can I do to maintain that drive?  How do I keep from becoming so discouraged that I throw in the towel?  Well that’s where chapter 1 comes in!

So chapter 1 is the P in pirate and it’s called “Passion”.  Burgess breaks passion down into three categories- content, professional, and personal.  Now one I loved is he had some questions for me to answer to myself under each category.  So here are my thoughts before I read his:

  • Content Passion-what I’m passionate about teaching in my subject matter: I really love teaching reading (even though I struggle with it sometimes in isolated areas).  I love watching a student put those phonics and high-frequency word skills together and read a book on their own.  It gives me chills every time!  But as I sat and pondered this, one area of teaching that I really don’t enjoy as much came as a surprise to me and that was social studies.  I’ve lived in areas where major world events were happening right in front of me (i.e. East and West Berlin becoming united-not kidding, my first time voting was the same one as the famous Florida recount, I was going to school in the small town that the space shuttle Columbia blew up over).  Oh and I’m the campus curriculum leader for this subject area.  So where’s my love and passion?  What’s happened?  My best answer- this always gets shoved to the back of the priority list in our scheduling AND lack of resources since the state has yet to buy new instructional resources for us, despite the fact that our state standards in this area have changed.  Makes it tough to love.  But I’ll fix that!
  • Professional Passion- part of the job not specific to subject matter: For me, it’s the kiddos.  I have always loved watching them learn and make connections.  I love it when a student who has been struggling to learn something finally tackles and swells with pride at their success.  I also love being a champion for a student who needs one.  I love knowing that my attention and focus on them helps that student thrive in every way even more.  That’s why I feel teaching is a calling.  Not just some job.
  • Personal Passion- something completely outside the classroom: My family and my faith keep me grounded in so many ways.  Without them, I have nothing to work for.  Both are so intertwined and essential to each other that they are truly my foundation when I’m struggling.  I also love music- listening, playing, and singing.  I do use songs whenever possible in my teaching as I’ve found it really helps the kiddos retain that information much better.  I also love doing things outside- running, camping.  So yes I definitely value recess!  😉  And just being silly.  My kiddos love telling me jokes and making me laugh!  Laughter truly is the best medicine!  🙂

So what does all this mean?  Well as Burgess says, “We are not passionate about everything we teach.”  It was so nice to see those words printed- liberating!!  Taking those 3 passions and melding them, using the other 2 when one is faltering is the best way to keep that burning desire to be an awesome teacher alive.  I really like this statement about personal passion: “Bringing your personal passion to the classroom empowers you to create a more powerful lesson because you are teaching from an area of strength.”  How true!

Now to end things, I want to leave you with this final quote from the chapter and what it means to me because it really got me- “Resist any movement that attempts to clone teachers and lessons and instead rejoice in the fact that it is your individuality and uniqueness that will always lead you to become the most effective teacher that you can be.”

Oh my goodness.  My first year of teaching, my school was in the 3rd year of the Texas Reading First Grant.  Everyone had to follow the program exactly as written.  No outside materials.  Period.  While a part of me was glad from the “first year teacher” perspective because I realized I didn’t know what I was doing as well as I thought.  But now, as I am about to enter my 8th year, I realized how that stifled my creativity and the possibility of greater things for me and my students.  While the grant required this, it kept me from taking chances and being bold, adventurous.  A pirate.  Now, I’m struggling to find my sea legs.  But I’ll be honest and say that all this blogging stuff (both writing and stalking) and sites like Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook have really brought out the rebel in me!  I’ve also got a supportive principal as well as no grant restrictions!  So it’s time for me break out the dark eyeliner and tall boots and find me some treasure!  Argh!!

Please go visit the 2 hosts for this book study for more on this chapter as well as the main host blog for the chapter specifically.  I’ve also linked up with them.  Just click the buttons!

Guided Math
Happy Teaching!/

2 responses to “Teach Like a Pirate- Chapter 1…finally!

  1. I can’t imagine having to follow a specific plan EVERY day with no outside materials! That would cause me to have a nervous breakdown! Ha! I love trying to make things exciting for my students and they see our efforts and appreciate it too. I’m so glad you were able to join up with us!

    • Yeah it was okay when you’re a new teacher with no clue as to what you’re doing and just trying to survive. It’s taken me 7 years to try to break that mold. Now I’m seeing and experiencing the joy and pleasure of making materials for my kiddos as well as using other great teachers’ creations. Change is good! Thanks for hosting this great study and for stopping by! I’ll work to catch up to y’all. 😉

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