We are hours away from kicking off our back-to-school week for teachers and staff, and we are in for a real treat as Dave Burgess (Teach Like a Pirate) leads our district in bringing passion, transformation, enthusiasm and more to our classrooms. The book, much like a treasure map, provides key steps to move all of us to greatness. It won’t be easy. The journey to change never is.
Last week I started counting down the days on Twitter until Dave arrives in White Oak. I also included some specific key points from the book to get us ready for what’s to come. He will encourage all of us to develop a classroom climate where students feel like doing the outrageous; where the out of the ordinary and sometimes silly are the norm. One quote from his book particularly resonates with me because it is on transformation–the specific focus of this district. Dave tells us:
“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” In other words, “we have to have a vision of what the ideal experience looks like if we have any hope of creating it.” In moving toward transformation there are two questions included in the ‘Transformation’ chapter that ought to make us all think about the future and what it takes to teach a ‘this century’ student.
#1 If your students didin’t have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?
#2 Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?
I couldn’t begin to guess how many of us have thought about what we do from this perspective, and what it would take to be truly outrageous. But as we prepare for tomorrow, here are some final thoughts from Dave’s book: “Much of your success as an educator has to do with your attitude towards teaching and towards kids. The rest of your success is based on your willingness to relentlessly search for what engages students, and then having the guts to do it.”
And finally, “Being truly great requires a significant amount of extra time and effort. It demands relentless pursuit of excellence, self-improvement, and a never-ending commitment to grow and stay on the cutting edge.” Thank you for the encouragement Dave Burgess.
Now for the rest of us–let’s be daring and adventurous, and the time is NOW!