Teach Like a Pirate: E is for Enthusiasm

Imagine going to the store and browsing the medicine aisles. As you wander, you find spy a newly added box- Enthusiasm. Intrigued, you flip the box over, seeking the directions:

“Spread virus liberally all over body every single day. Every. Single. Day.” 

Alarmed, you then seek out the warning label. Unfortunately, it doesn’t calm your fears:

“This medicine is contagious, and WILL rub off on others.”

What in the world is going on? Well, what if there really was a way to bottle enthusiasm? Would you take the medicine daily? Would you spread the virus?

In the last part of the PIRATE mnemonic chapters, Burgess focuses on Enthusiasm. And yes, he talks about viruses and medicine and spreading liberally. In fact, he believes that Enthusiasm is one of the most important parts of PIRATE, along with Passion.

Okay I’ve got this! I’ve had enthusiasm for my lessons! Well, no not all the time. Sometimes they were downright boring. I’m sure that in some ways my professional development sessions are the exact same way. I do not have enthusiasm all day, every day.

Enthusiasm and passion do match up well and go hand in hand. In fact, they can be married together. Burgess even says that if you can’t do the whole PIRATE system, increasing your enthusiasm is a good way to start and improve. Students are more engaged when their teacher is enthusiastic about what they are teaching, instead of droning on and on. With enthusiasm, you can fake it ’til you make it. You don’t have to love the subject, but you do have to act like you love it.

There are many reasons that we may not be enthusiastic about the lesson on a particular day. However, we have to remember that sometimes students see us just once a day, and however we teach that particular class leaves an impression upon them. I may be rocking it up one class period, but being a downer another. One group of students received my “best me”, while another group got the worst.

Therefore, it’s time to commit to being better as an educator with enthusiasm. One has to commit and decide how they will change their way of teaching so that students receive that enthusiastic side as close to 100% as possible. Grab ’em, hook ’em, engage ’em!

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