Some of you might be astonished with this statement since I run #sstlap social studies teach like a pirate and have supported the Teach Like a Pirate movement for years. Now that I have your attention I think it is important to discuss why I hate Teach Like a Pirate. The reason is pretty simple but very important to my professional development.
I was teaching for years when a change meeting put me on a path to Teach Like a Pirate. I was looking for resources for my sociology class which I was teaching for the first time in my career. I found Reuben Hoffman's website with amazing resources and emailed him about using some of his amazing lessons. He shared his entire Google Folder and then pushed me to get on Twitter and read the book Teach Like a Pirate. This has forever changed my professional life.
I have written so much about how this has transformed how I approach teaching and professional development. It helped open the door to creating a Professional Learning Network that has been so supportive in my learning journey. The ideas helped me refocus on building relationships as the most important aspect of teaching. It has taught me more ways to engage students in the learning process. It has challenged me to do better and be better. I can't say how important reading Dave's book has been to reinvigorating my educational career.
Recently I have read Play Like a Pirate, Learn Like a Pirate, and have many other books from Dave Burgess Publishing that I am either in the midst of reading or on my night stand. I am a true believer of what Dave is doing to transform education.
So why do I hate Teach Like a Pirate? I hate it because I didn't discover Teach Like a Pirate until I had been teaching for about 10 or so years. In those years I wasn't teaching like a pirate, I wasn't focused on making ticket lessons and building relationships. I didn't have a PLN to support me or encourage me to take risks and learn from failure, or to share ideas with. This isn't to say that I didn't connect with students, or have good lessons. What I am saying is I wasn't as good as I could have been because I didn't know about being a Pirate. I didn't know how to change what I was doing to become the best teacher I could be. I am frustrated that I fell back on doing things the way I was taught early in my career and that was a disservice to my students. I wasn't asked- "If kids didn't have to come to your class would they?" If that was asked to me earlier I know I would have begun my transformative journey sooner.
I have read Play Like a Pirate and want to be back in the classroom using those lessons right now! I want to see what super powers my students would assign the presidents, or how we could use Ken and Barbie or Legos as learning opportunities. I also read Learn Like a Pirate and want to turn my classroom into a student centered learning experience where I get out of there way. I am no longer in the classroom daily, I am a Tech Integrator who works with teachers and their classes to create learning experiences. I promote the Teach Like a Pirate message and get to see their amazing results. However, I didn't get to unlock my full potential or that of my students while in my own classroom.
Why am I sharing this with you- I want every young teacher to know about Teach Like a Pirate! Share this with them, and transform their learning environment. Share it with veteran teachers and again transform their teaching and the experience for their students.
We can do better and our students deserve our best. Connect the disengaged student, motivate the unmotivated student through ticket lessons, passion, and most importantly developing rapport with them.