Oh My Goodness! The response to my first blog about “My Mantra” post AMAZED me. I had messages from Joy Kirr, a shout out from Tara Martin , and the Pirate himself–Dave Burgess–even chimed in with:
…..and other positive responses from my “#tlap PLN” that make me feel good, like I belong to something bigger. I was especially “geeked out” by the fact Tara made an image of my quote!
When I sat down to write blog post #2 I was thinking about making my second post—or several posts—about specific takeaways from all the great books I have read from Dave Burgess Consulting Inc.
Then I quickly realized doing that would a) be too daunting of a task with the start of the school year (but no kids until the 5th) and b) they would never be as good as the write ups that Alicia Ray has done in her DBC50Summer blog series ….she is seriously doing an amazing job. I’ve learned to read her blog when deciding what is next on the Barnes and Noble order list. I highly suggest you check her blog out!
I was absolutely stuck until yesterday. Yesterday was our first day back for staff and I was excited to get back, catch up with colleagues, and share my epic summer of learning.
Last year was my 10th year of full time teaching and it was by far and away the worst year of my career—-on multiple levels—-but being forward looking I will spare the minute details. Its the first year I can ever say I taught in “survival mode” and, being a bit of an over thinker, negativity and doubt filled my thoughts. I felt like I failed to fulfill my “why” and the words “maybe you should just give up” crossed my mind more than once. I was not myself.
Teaching is my absolute calling and passion—so giving up was not and never will be an option. I needed to find a way back to my genuine self for the sake of my “why”, my students, and because this year is my tenure year…..and yes I was nervous starting a this blog because of that.
I started the summer geared towards hitting the “reset button” and was already optimistic because I was “trading my four wheels for four walls” aka I spent two years living on a cart and now I was getting my own room. I planned a lot of my professional development around Social and Emotional Learning (for both my students and myself) and trying to further reset my compass by reading and re-reading all the John Wooden books I could get my hands on. I try to live by the things John Wooden outlines in his Pyramid of Success and incorporate them into my teaching. I felt I was making progress but still uneasy—doubt is hard to shake—when fate stepped in, or at least that is the only explanation I can find for it.
I stopped at Barnes and Noble to kill some time before something I was going to (I think it may have been a coffee date) and picked up a copy of Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess on a whim….. I had heard a few people talk about it and figured I would “work it in” at some point. Little did I know this happenstance would be exactly what I needed and change my world.
When I started reading it, I literally couldn’t put it down (I know people who are reading this and read it are most likely nodding in agreement) for multiple reasons. First it reaffirmed a lot of the stuff I had already had been doing and was like getting a thumbs up on my “reset” and then adding so much more to help grow beyond that.
That led to discovering the Hive Summit organized by Michael Matera, which led to so much more. For example, I emailed my Consultant Teacher an “End of the Summer Report” the day before returning for work with the following snippet on my DBC Inc. inspired PD (I added the links to Amazon):
“The Hive Summit, coupled with reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, led to a lot of open inquiry. I have read several books—some have given me ideas to try, others reaffirmed/ enhanced something I already did/do, and others had things I might try later on but I do not want to overwhelm myself with too much.
I have read…
- Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess: Amazing stuff on educational philosophy and student engagement. I believe it should be a must read for all educators.
- Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera: A book about “gamifying” the classroom, which can create an experiential world that flourishes on collaboration and creativity. Several takeaways from this and I think it has potential to help with Standards Based Learning implementation, as well engage kids.
- Kids Deserve It by Todd Nelsoney and Adam Welcome: Great book about building a culture that makes learning fun and meaningful for students.
- Shift This by Joy Kirr: A lot of great ideas on classroom environment, grading practices, use of social media, and student-directed learning. If you haven’t read it I think you would like it!
- Be REAL by Tara Martin: Great book about the mental side of teaching/teaching from the heart. REAL is an acronyn for Relatable, Expose vulnerability, Approachable, and Learning through life. Great read!
- I am currently reading Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth by Aaron Hogan (some good things on teaching expectations) with Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz “on deck.”
So obviously a HUGE impact. The real story over the last week has been that multiple people, both in and out of education, who knew me both before and after “survival mode” have said some version:
One colleague told me yesterday that my:
“Your whole consonance has changed”
A highly respected colleague (and fellow Pirate) tapped me on the shoulder in passing to our first full staff meeting and said:
“Good Morning Pirate”
The most impactful statement came from the head of my department, who is not only a great colleague and mentor…she is our districts Teacher of the Year. I had showed her the trailer to the “game” I am creating as an overlay to my course—thanks to Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera—and she had me show one of our colleagues (also a good friend). Then she said:
“That makes me want to be in your class”
I have come to say that I have a Dave Burgess Constant Inc. Book Addiction. It has helped me regain my confidence….. and I think its fair to say I have become a “Pirate”. I think what Dave Burgess has done with Teach Like A Pirate and the those that followed from Dave Burgess Consulting Inc is a gift to education—if there were a Mount Rushmore of EDU he belongs on it.
I am immensely thankful for all the people I have connected with under #TLAP, #XPLAP, #REALedu, #ShiftThis, #TeacherMyth, #LearnLAP and #KidsDeserveIt
I feel like I have “found my tribe” and that, with that support there, I can withstand anything.
Oh and remember….. “Every day you wake up is a good day”.
3 Comments Add yours
Rich, keep collecting those quotes – from teachers AND your students – they’ll take you far on this year’s journey!
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You are awesome sauce! I am gald we are teamed this year,our kids will be moving from 1 pirate to another. Anchors away my friend!
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So sorry that last year was so hard. Funny how as educators when we teach long enough we all have had a really bad year but it’s not something that we always openly share. I’m so proud of you. So proud of you for fighting and pushing through this, for scrapping and pulling yourself to this. So strong, so resilient, so many rich lessons that this will leave you. And now you are different you, with new and powerful parts and I can’t wait to see and hear all about how your year goes!
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