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July 2, 2013

Part 1: Teach Like a Pirate - Passion and Immersion

I have enjoyed reading Teach Like a Pirate so much.  It has validated my teaching style.. which over the years has been compressed due to the stress of "THE TEST".  This is going to be a 3 part series of the book... the author asks a bunch of questions for the readers to thoughtfully consider... so I decided to consider them over here on the blog. 

Now, I totally think you should read the book for yourself (and I don't want to get in trouble with anyone by sharing any copyrighted information) - so please don't expect a ton of quotes from it.  Just my thoughts regarding my own teaching... there is also a Book Study going on about it - check the bottom of the post for more information.

Pirate: Passion, Immersion, 
Rapport, Ask & Analyze, 
Transformation, and Enthusiasm


I am passionate about my 4th grade content.  I love CA history, probably more than science... and I know how to make even the drab things exciting.  I figure that if I am bored by the topic, that others will also be.  Growing up I loved reading more than math, so when I began teaching I wanted to make math as fun as possible.  I would have appreciated someone making it fun for me when I was little.  I don't think that this area is something I need to work on, I feel secure in this area.  

I am passionate about teaching and education as a professional.  That's why I became a teacher.  I loved being able to help children build their foundation (when I taught primary grades), and now I love helping them build onto that foundation in addition to filling in the cracks.  The kids are the reason that I go to school everyday.  I do feel though that I need to remember my professional passion a little better though when it comes to the stress of "THE NUMBERS" or "THE TEST".  I need to remember the bigger picture - my goal is to teach these kids to love learning.

The last part of passion is something I really really need to work on.  Personal Passion...  When I was younger I had so many things that I enjoyed.  Over the years of being a mom and having to be responsible for other human beings, some of my own interests have gone by the wayside.  It's just not possible when our home schedule is dictated by the kids' schedules, or the fact that we are trying hard not to pay a babysitter.  I used to love painting, horseback riding, learning new baking techniques,etc.... at this point it just doesn't seem possible to add anything into the schedule.  My boys enjoy doing some things with me, but the extra girly things that I would love to do... well, I'm not going to torture myself by dragging them with me to do it. 


I got a lot out of this section.  I am a wonderful multi-tasker.  Something that I need to work on though is slowing down and being in the moment.  If you read the book, I spend a lot of time as the lifeguard instead of as a swimmer.  Now I'm not up in the chair type of lifeguard, I'm down at the water's edge with my feet in the water.  I'm connected to the students, I am there to grab them if they start drowning, but I'm not in the water.  I really don't like swimming in real life either...  My brain usually goes a mile a minute during the school day, so when the kids are working independently, I do write notes of things I need to do during prep... or I do have my laminator set up that when I make a lap around the classroom to check work, I stick another sheet in.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that this next year I want to work more on being 100% present.

The other part to the chapter had to do with taking the time for those teaching moments.  I need to work on slowing down.  I think I might over schedule my days - which I know there is tons to accomplish throughout the year - but I need to allow the kids to breathe (and I need to breathe myself).  I do a lot in my classroom for character pillars, kindness, etc... but I need to take moments to just be flexible and "let it go..."  Sound familiar anyone?

Here's the Book Study Information:
Click the link above to go to the main schedule page over at Rowdy in First Grade.  I didn't have time to start the book when everyone else did... Check back with me tomorrow for the next 2 parts to it.  :)  


  1. I really got a lot out of this reflection... I'm interested in buying the book now! :P I have read several of the book study posts, and I really liked those too, but you are the first person to have posted what the acronym PIRATE stood for! :)

  2. Hi Emily!! Thanks so much for writing such a wonderfully self-reflective post about the P and I chapters. I really appreciate your willingness to take a hard look at where you stand on these issues in your class. I certainly have some significant areas to improve, as well!

    I hope you find a way to incorporate more of your personal passions back into your life...and eventually your class!! I look forward to reading your thoughts on the rest of the book. :)


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