Learn like a Pirate is a Student Win!


Happy Monday Everyone,

Last month I saw the release of Learn like a Pirate by Paul Solarz which was the newest book in the Teach like a Pirate series by Dave Burgess. As much as I wanted to click right on Amazon and buy or download the book, my financial woes I have talked about the last few months kept things from happening. However, my wonderful niece got me an Amazon gift card and I quickly purchased the book after receiving it (Thank you Emma). Reading it this weekend I can’t tell you the amount of amazing lessons and ideas this book has given me. Especially, Silent Day (p. 117). Paul Solarz comes from 15 years experience and brings an amazing profession and easy access in Learn like a Pirate. The book hit me on page 121 when he mentioned that: “one child’s excessive enthusiasm can have a negative impact on the success of the whole class.” I have been guilty of this crime, you get so enthusiastic about what you are doing that you end up having the opposite effect on the situation and I’ve seen in with my students. Just on Thursday I had a student get so set in their Genius Hour project and wanting to have everyone do what they were doing. It caused a major problem with the entire class. I had to switch gears fast so others wouldn’t compromise their projects to be like the other student because they were throwing out their entire project to be like his.

I’ve tried to get so into something it can make others feel less than themselves. Dave Burgess said how he had one teacher tell him once: “Its easy for you, you’re creative.” I have had so many teachers tell me this even stating: “I wish I could get as enthusiastic as you.” Because after they say that they shut down and want me to take over their class instead of me handing off what I teach to them so they can continue the same practices with their own students. However, when teachers like students feel that someone is doing so awesome they want to copy it and as the old saying goes: “That’s not a lesson, that’s a recipe.” So, I took a step back and reflected as Paul has said in his book and I realized something I was told by a student a few days ago. “Mr. Read, you don’t look happy.” I told them I was feeling burned out and it was more to do with outside of school than in. They told me: “Why don’t you try again with your book, that made you happy everywhere.” I told them that it didn’t seem possible right now and I wanted to focus on making the classroom better for them and their teachers. Then I read this part in the book a few days later and a friend of mine even said: “You know it was over powering how you did it but you can’t give up because you are tired.” That was it, so I decided on Saturday night I was going to relaunch Small Hope, my children’s book on Kickstarter again this Thursday. “Because if its important to you, you’ll find a way and if its not, you will find an excuse.” I’m done with excuses and as I type this I did feel like me saying my day was off to a good start just invited a lot of bad from forgetting to leave something out for the family and getting yelled at in a text to several IT problems before finals.
Well, nope. As Paul said: “Empower them to try and fail and try again. Teach them (students) that what’s most important is bringing their personal best and helping others to do the same.” Which I’m going to do today, I refuse to have a bad day.

Thank you Paul.


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