Saturday, February 10, 2018

"Teach Like a Pirate" book review

Hello to a VERY snowy Saturday at a great coffee shop in Colorado Springs! I was definitely MIA last weekend as I got SLAMMED with a nasty cold. I didn't get the flu (thank goodness), but I did miss three days of school. I spent four days laid up in bed (minus watching the Super Bowl). It was definitely something... But I am well rested, back to getting to the gym, and am drinking some chai tea.

I decided to change it up this week and do my very first book review! I discussed with Mari, a fellow #sunchatblogger, about blogging what we're reading. She's jumped in and created a book-focused blog! I'm not entirely there yet but did want to blog about a book that we're studying for Skyview's mentoring group. (I'm a mentor for another teacher. Have I mentioned that? I still struggle with the fact that I'm helping a new teacher, even if it is the second year of me doing this.)

ANYWAY. We're reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. The book is split into three parts. The first part is called "Teach like a PIRATE" (passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation, enthusiasm). Even though he explained that PIRATE was an acronym on the first page, I didn't read closely enough to realize this acronym until I was 3/4th of the way through the book. I kept thinking, "What does this have to do with being a pirate?" Duh Rachel. Get πŸ‘πŸ» It πŸ‘πŸ»Together πŸ‘πŸ»!

We were tasked with reading the first part before our mentoring meeting this past Wednesday. We were given a handout with discussion questions. As an introvert, I was not very excited to do a full group discussion. I wanted to discuss the book with "my people" in the building because I can easily communicate and collaborate with these people. As our whole group conversation continued, I shut down. I'll admit that I acted like a baby because the conversation did not go as I believed it should. That's a "me" thing that I have to get over.

The meeting did push me to read the rest of the book ASAP. Part two provides "hooks" to engage your students in your classroom. If a teacher doesn't walk away with one, ONE idea to incorporate into their classroom then they have <begin blunt honesty> a fixed, instead of growth, mindset. I legitimately have no other answer than this <end blunt honesty>. Part three is about "building a better pirate" which is just a way to conclude the book by looking at next steps in the classroom.

So what are my thoughts on this book? I'm going to bullet point the list because it's how I think, collaborate, and function :)

  • As an introvert, this book makes me uncomfortable (in a healthy way) as it pushes me to be more creative, innovative, and "out there" than I already am. I have to work on being more silly (I don't like looking stupid) and be more humor. On days when I'm crabby, I still need to put on a show. 
  • Dave talks about bringing personal passion into your classroom. I started doing that the last two years through sharing good news. I often talked about my photography and shared my pictures with my students. A few asked for my Instagram handle which I gladly shared. This has spilled into my current position as a broadcasting teacher, and now I take pictures of my students working on the broadcasts (and a few of them have asked to post as well!)
  • The six words: "It's easy for you. You're creative." BOOM! This spoke to me because I've heard people use these six words against me. Yes, I'm creative, but it's because I practice. It's because I'm not afraid to take risks and try something new. This section made me realize that I need to share more about my failures in the classroom. It's taken a lot of failure and mistakes to get where I am now. The last six years has not always been easy. Turns out I can "fake it until I make it." My colleagues are none the wiser, but they should be... 
  • "If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?" When I taught history, I know that some students would show. Teaching broadcast, I've heard on the regular that students come to school for my class. If I ever go back to teaching history, I would really challenge myself to make my social studies class like my broadcasting class. 
  • If you don't read the whole book, please check out part two, the "hooks" section. Dave covers thirty-two different thematic hooks with multiple ideas for each. This part is helpful for new teachers, to give them ideas, and for experienced teachers, to encourage them to refresh their curriculum. 
I am quite glad that I finished reading this book. It cemented a lot about what I've already done, and what I currently do, as a classroom teacher. It also pushed me to continue to grow and learn so that I can fulfill my promise that I made in my phone interview for Skyview nine years ago... "I am a good teacher, but someday, I'm going to be a great teacher. You want me on your staff."


Thanks for reading. I'll see you next week :)


- Rachel
My Teacherspayteachers website