Teaching like a Pirate

Recently I finished the book “Teach Like a Pirate.” I have to say: what a fantastic reminder of why I–and probably most teachers–got into doing the job we love so much. It’s a quick read filled with simple tips on how to restore the passion that all teachers have, but many lose over their time in the classroom.

Teach like a pirate doesn’t mean wear your eye-patch and talk funny, but rather it’s an acronym that stands for Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation and Enthusiasm. And if Dave Burgess hadn’t already beat me to it, I’d be writing a book about these very things because I have realized now in five years of teaching how important these things are.

Burgess reminds teachers that although we may not enjoy every lesson we teach and we definitely favor others, we have to approach every single lesson with enthusiasm. After all, if we’re not excited about it how can we expect our students to be?

The biggest thing I took away from his book: approach each lesson with the intention to get kids excited and motivated to learn. This means get creative and find new ways to re-invent the stale, boring things you do in class. Believe it or not, there is a way. I tried new things after reading his book that showed me just that. And I noticed the difference it made when I got “excited” about a topic that I used to dread teaching.

Of course these aren’t new ideas to teaching, but it’s a nice way to remember and re-imagine how to engage students each and every day in the classroom. He spends time outlining creative ways to put more fun in your lessons and get kids interested in what you’re teaching. I found this graphic of some of his ideas, cleverly called “Pirate Hooks”:

The nice thing about Burgess’s book? He’s down-to-Earth and honest about what he preaches. He admits that not every lesson will be awesome but he has a repertoire of the greatest ones and he makes sure students stay engaged in between them. He admits that not every day he has the energy to be as inspiring as he would like. Every teacher has faced these feelings sometimes. It’s nice to be reminded that we teachers are human too and we’ll never stop growing and learning how to make our lessons better.

So, no matter where you are in your teaching career, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of his book TODAY!

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