Teach Like a Pirate: P is for Passion

Passion is what drives our interests. It’s easy to tell when someone is passionate about a topic. Their face lights up and they become very animated as they speak. They may use wild hand gestures to emphasize a point, and their speech may come fast and furious. They love to talk about what makes them passionate, and are even happier when they find another who shares the same passion. What makes one educator passionate is not going to be the same as another educator, though there may be some overlap.

I have finally decided to read Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. It’s actually been on my Kindle for a few years now. I bought it the spring before my last 9 weeks in the classroom. For whatever reason, I never got around to reading it that summer, and it fell to the wayside. Now that I think about it, it’s probably because I had just started in the TIS Cohort and was busy completing work toward that certification. Ever since, I’ve heard on
an off about TLAP, but moreso lately because of a fellow WV educator of mine. Now I’m on the cusp of possibly being in the classroom again, and would love to brush up on some new ideas. I originally bought Teach Like a Pirate because I felt that it would fit nicely with my teaching style, and that I could really use something new in my career.

You can’t be a pirate without passion. In Part I: Teach Like a Pirate, the first section focuses on passion. In fact, it breaks passion into 3 different areas, and then asks the reader to provide an answer to each section. The goal of doing so is to figure out how to intertwine all 3 together and become a “powerfully passionate teacher”. With all of this in mind, I have decided to blog as I read, and answer the first questions here. The questions are copied directly from the text:

1.Within your subject matter, what are you passionate about teaching?

I am elementary K-6 certified, as well as a certified technology integration specialist. When I was in the classroom, my passion was science, mostly anytime I could create a lab to go along with the lessons themselves. I loved the hands-on aspect, and I loved the possibilities and outcomes. This was probably why I utilized Steve Spangler’s science website so much as well. I used it find labs for additional exploration, and often this came as extra lab time. I do remember I had the hardest time getting excited about teaching space because I often didn’t have the lab materials that I needed. I also enjoyed social studies and math, but I know I didn’t like teaching ELA as much. I am an avid reader and love my books, but when it came to teaching it, it wasn’t as much fun. I think that’s mostly because I struggled with techniques for struggling readers. I never struggled myself, and I feel that plays a large role. In the end though, science was my key passion in my classroom.

As a technology integration specialist, I find that my current passion revolves around teaching coding. I don’t know much about it myself, but I find it a lot of fun, and a great way to engage the students. I love showing students the basics and getting watching their eyes light up when they solve a problem that they’ve been stuck on for ages. I love finding new ways to teach coding basics and help students develop the mindset that they will need to become successful in the coding world.

2.Within your profession, but not specific to your subject matter, what are you passionate about?

As a professional, I’m passionate about connecting with students and finding ways to build relationships with them. I’m passionate about helping students find ways to problem-solve and seek answers on their own. I don’t want them to think the end of learning is when they graduate from school. I want to help them become lifelong learners. I want them to see that the yearly standardized tests are not a measure of who they really are as a person.

As a TIS, I’m passionate about bringing my love for learning and technology to other teachers. I love to design professional development to train others. I love finding ways for teachers to incorporate technology into their lessons, and in turn, seeking out new resources for them to use. It makes me happy when I see a teacher who has learned new technique and succeeded with using it in their classroom.

Bringing both of these together, I’m passionate about building my personal learning network. I now strive to connect with others and learn something new each week. I feel more empowered when I can talk with others about what’s going on in the classroom. I love leaving an edchat feeling like I have accomplished something. I enjoy attending conferences and trainings, and connecting with educators there. I love to “give back” and present on the topics I know best about. I’m passionate about NOT becoming an isolated educator.

3.Completely outside of your profession, what are you passionate about?

There are a few things that people easily tag to me when they list my passions- books, Minecraft, and technology. These three things are usually on my mind every day in some capacity, and they usually find a way into my professional workday as well.

Books have always been a big part of my life. I was an avid reader from the start, so much so that once I got my books taken away from me when I hadn’t done so well in school. I was in late elementary school or early middle school at the time. My mom wanted me to focus on my grades more, so I couldn’t have my books at home until the issue wasresolved. I thought I was a rebel kid because I’d just take all of my books to
school and read during any free period I got. Mom and I laugh about this now because she’d never do something like it in this day and age, but back then she needed a way to get me on track again. When I had my own classroom, I made sure to build a big classroom library. I felt that kids needed exposure to all kinds of books and always sought to find books to read every child’s interest. I sent home book order forms each month, and used the bonus points to add more to my classroom. I don’t have children of my own yet, but you’d never know based on the library of children’s books that I already have at home!

Technology is another passion of mine. I love picking up new devices and electronics and figuring out how they work. IfI can, I love buying devices for myself and utilizing them in my everyday life. I also enjoy learning new ways to use the device itself. I’ll dabble in
different things. I have a knack for picking up how to use a device or (most) programs pretty quickly. Let me play around and explore a bit and reference the user guides and I’m set to go. In high school, child development was my main career path, but I also took business computer courses and even basic web design, just because they sounded like fun to me. I’m not well versed in fixing computers, but when it comes to basic fixes and problem solving, I can handle that.

My last big passion to round out this list is Minecraft. This is actually something I started getting into because so many of my students were into it at the time, and I thought it’d be a great way to connect with them. I started with the iPad version and then got the PC version. I began by exploring, and now my interest focuses around building instead. Usually I’m never seen without my Gameband, which is usually a great conversation starter with students. Bringing Minecraft into the classroom is a newer idea of mine, and one I’m slowly working toward. I’m starting with the Minecraft Makershop that I’m running this summer, and then I plan to get a grant or a DonorsChoose project funded for a club wherever I end up next year. I’m participating in Minecraft chats, and I can never resist a resource that discusses utilizing the program in the classroom.

Looking back over what I just wrote, and really thinking about it, writing down my answers to these questions should make a greatstarting point for becoming a Pirate in teaching. I’m excited to see what the next chapter brings!

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