Book Review: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

One thing I love about my school are all of the learning opportunities we have just built right in.  I was excited when I heard about the summer book study of Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate because I love the opportunity to learn with others and consider ways to be a better teacher.

Dave Burgess really did a great job of getting me pumped up about teaching!  You can follow him on Twitter @burgessdave.  Also, one of our book study meetings was a Twitter chat, which he joined and participated in!  It was really neat to be able to interact with the author.  What a great idea and how cool of him.  You can review our chat at #HHStlap.

I love what Burgess had to say about PASSION in his book.  Basically, we’re not going to always love every single thing we teach, so he challenges teachers to consider what other passions they have that they can use to lean on in those situations.  He especially wants us to think about our Professional Passion and asked the question, “What is it about being an educator that drives you?”  The answer to this question is what should keep us going every day, every class period, every lesson.  Basically, if the content is sucky, then make it some kind of life lesson.

I encourage teachers to answer that question about what drives you professionally.  Why are you there?  What do you want outside of teaching the content that you love?  What do you want the students to say about you?  At the end of the day, what do you want the students to know about you?  Our principal asked us to answer this question, print it out, and put it somewhere where we’ll read it regularly to remind us.

Another take-away for me was when Burgess said that students can tell if you’re giving your all (or not!).  Can’t you tell if someone is checked out of a conversation?  I can!  It was a good reminder for me that we need to always be ON.  Actually, it was a challenge to always be on and “in it.”  Every. Day.

Your relationships with your students MATTER.  A LOT.  Burgess challenges us to find out about our students as PEOPLE and be invested in their lives.  Go to their games!  Go to their art shows!  I always say in my classroom that “teachers are people too,” but I think what I took from this is that “students are people too.”  Show them you care.  Basically, buy into their lives as kids, not just as students.  Burgess argues that the first three days of school are the most important in setting the tone for rapport with the kids.  He says do something interesting that SHOWS students what the rules and expectations are instead of something boring that TELLS them.

My favorite part of Teach Like a Pirate is what Burgess has to say about Creativity.  If you read about anything he does, you’ll conclude that he is creative!  And he is, but not just because he was born that way.  He works for it- works hard for it, actually.  But how?  The golden answer: he asks himself questions that require creative thought.  He reminds us that we have choice in our lessons and our delivery of them and challenges us to explore all of the options that are open to us.  So although we have to be flexible in our delivery, we must spend thoughtful time planning, really challenging ourselves with those questions that result in creative answers.  We can all be creative teachers if we work our butts off for it!  Love this!

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About madamedcash

French Teacher
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