Thursday, June 13, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- Chapters 1 and 2

I'm late for the book study.  I MAY have waited until the last minute to order my book so I didn't have it on time.  Go figure.

So, I am linking up Chapter 1 (Passion) with Chapter 2 (Immersion)

P is for Passion

Chapter 1 is about finding your passion.  Before I get to that, I just wanted to say, I was laughing out loud within the first two pages.  Here's why:

Dave Burgess tell us it's ok that we are not passionate about everything we teach.  And we can fix it.  He also said, "I should perhaps mention there are rare exceptions...teachers who find everything about the subject they teach exciting.  I call them freaks."

You know you laughed.

I'll admit it.  I don't love everything about every subject I teach.  So Dave asks us to answer these questions:

What's your content passion?  
I'd have to say my content passion is within Social Studies.  I love teaching about the American Revolution.  I can't wait for the time when I can start (I get through Native Americans, Explorers, and creating the 13 Colonies so I can get to the "good stuff" which is the American Revolution!).  I don't find teaching about the government super fun.  Our science is not that exciting to me, either.  So, for me, the American Revolution is where everything comes together and it's just fun!  I don't have to try as hard or "fake" my enthusiasm!

What's your professional passion?
This question is basically asking why I am a teacher.  I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the world.  I wanted to feel that I had some sort of positive impact on others.  I had always worked with kids, but wasn't sure if I could be a teacher.  At that point, I associated teaching with people who sat at the front of the room, assigned pages to read in a textbook and questions to answer at the end of the chapter.  I didn't want to be THAT.  But after some digging, I realized that not all teachers were like that.  Just my experience was.  Then, I wanted to be a teacher that made learning fun and who built confidence and self esteem.  I wanted to be the teacher that helped a child know that they CAN do anything they set their mind to.  Because that's what I had needed...but never got...

So, my professional passion is based around wanting to make a positive difference while making learning fun and building kids up so they have the confidence to dream big and go after it.  

What is my personal passion?
Hm.  Well.  Definitely my family.  I don't have a lot of time to do much else that I'm passionate about but if I had all the time in the world, I love reading (all types of books and magazines), I love crafting and creating things.  I love to learn anything and everything that can help me become a better teacher and person.  

The gist of why Dave Burgess asks us to answer these questions is because he wants us to remember to use all of these other passions when we are lacking content passion.  We can use these to light us on fire when we just feel so-so about the subject we are teaching about.  "Teaching is a job filled with frustrations, trials, and tests of your patience.  Use your passion to soar over obstacles instead of crashing into them and burning out." pg. 10

I is for immersion

Two quotes sum up this chapter for me:

"We all know when we are dealing with people who are distracted or are in some way dividing their attention.  It's incredibly frustrating to interact with a person who is not immersed and fully invested in that interaction." pg. 14

We've all been there.  Especially now that technology is so prevalent.  You are talking to someone and you can tell that they aren't listening fully.  They are wondering who just texted them, who posted some status on Facebook, or whether they'll get home on time to watch their favorite show.  It is totally annoying and frustrating and hurtful to realize you are competing with something for someone's attention.

In a world that is moving so fast, I know that I'm totally guilty of multitasking.  I've learned (since having kids especially) that I can not multitask successfully.  I do a much better job when I give one person or thing my undivided attention than when I give several things divided attention.  But, I still find myself doing it because I never feel like I have enough time to get everything done.  :O(

This chapter is a good reminder that kids pick up on this just as much as adults do and they have the same feelings and reactions that we do.  Our students know when we are distracted and they know when we aren't giving our full selves to a lesson.  And how do you think that makes them feel when they are within that lesson?  I'm pretty sure they are not going to immerse themselves into the lesson if we can't even do that as their teachers.  Why should we ask it of them if we can't even do it ourselves?  (powerful stuff, right???)

"At some point in your career you have to decide if you care more about teaching to tests or teaching kids." pg. 18

Yep.  I'm at that point.  Well, I'm beyond that point.  I don't really teach to tests, but I'm teaching to standards and a curriculum that has been set for me.  It's really starting to frustrate me.  Since doing this math training these past two weeks, I've really been reflecting on a lot as far as teaching and what it's become (at least where I teach).

We are supposed to be creating thinkers yet we are being boxed in by pacing guides and standards that are driving instruction rather than the KIDS driving instruction.  I'm at that point in my career where I'm about to throw caution to the wind and do what I know is right instead of what I've been told to do.  I always try to let my students' needs drive my instruction but deadlines and assessments do worry and stress me and I always feel rushed.  I don't like it (does anyone?).

I have tried to do the best I can with what I have, but I know it's not good enough and so I need to make some changes. This book is validating what I've already been feeling, and I'm glad.  I'll just say Dave Burgess told me to do it.  ;O)

If you don't have this book, I strongly recommend it...strongly...


  1. I haven't read this book, but I'm interested in your comments. And today, when I was looking online at another book, I came across this quote, which fits in to the passion chapter. I'm going to make this into a poster and put it somewhere where I can be reminded of it.
    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman

    So, on those days when we aren't as excited about what we're teaching, we can be reminded that we love the ACT of teaching - of watching and helping kids learn.

    That's what feeds my soul!

  2. I am loving this book and this book study. I hope to link up later tonight when I have Internet again (I'm on my phone right now). It's been stressful yet also refreshing without it because you are so right, technology is consuming us. It's hard to maintain focus because of it sometimes. I'm guilty of trying to multitask way too much! Case in point...I'm commenting from my phone!! Thanks for the reminder that I need to slow down! So, I think I will go take a nap :)

  3. This sounds like a really great book! I'm with you... I hate feeling like I can't slow down and teach more in depth to my kids because "the pacing guide says we have to move on." Sigh. I'm glad I'm not the only one!
    ideas by jivey
    Follow me on Facebook!

  4. I am loving the "caution to the wind" approach you are taking. That is what I need to do. I am getting to that point that I feel I have plateau'd with teaching, and it makes me feel so unfulfilled. Thank you for the recommendation!! -Whitney

  5. Have you used Mission US? It's a free online simulation game about the events leading up to the American Revolution. My students have enjoyed it. Google it if you haven't seen it before.

    Teaching With Class

  6. I did laugh about the freak comment. I don't have kids and my husband travels a lot for work so there are times I just leave and breath school I know there are a couple around my building that think I am a freak. I just embrace my inner freak. I definitely don't love everything single thing I teach either but that's okay as long as we fake it.

    room 4 imagination

  7. Great book! I am loving it and loving reading all the book chats going on in Blog World! Have a great day. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  8. Glad your pd went well. I love Very Jane too. Do you know Sassy Steals? If you don't, you have to check it out.
    Your papers look great.
    Have a good weekend.

    School Is a Happy Place

  9. Is it OK that my professional passion is bulletin boards? Is that rude. I mean I obviously love the kids and adore creating joyous learning for them, but I really get passionate about bulletin boards! Shallow??? I don't think so... I mean look at school girl style.... anyway... I think I will go buy this book for my kindle... I think you guys are adorbs!
    Teacher to the Core ~ Tips, Tricks, and Mommy Magic

  10. Hey Amanda,
    I could not agree with you MORE about feeling trapped by teaching to pacing guides and district mandates! This was a huge part of the reason my husband and I moved overseas to teach. Don't get me wrong, I am still accountable to standards, but I teach to them through the curriculum; the standards do not become the curriculum. I have loved following your blog because you're commitment to real learning comes through all your posts. Keep trusting yourself as a teacher and do what's best for the kids! OK, I'll get off my soapbox now! LOL!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  11. I swore I commented on this when I read it but I don't see my comment, so I am trying again. I am right there with you with the pacing guides and the standards and the test and blah blah blah! I have a love hate relationship with our pacing guides. I hate that someone thinks I can follow a pacing guide for a bnch of kids on different levels and that someone who created said pacing guide doesn't know me or my kids. But I do appreciate having some idea of where my district wants me to go. I would rather it just be a simple "teach these skills in this order ish" flexible yet still giving me a sequence to go in. Thanks for joining in!
    Third Grade Tidbits

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