1. How do you integrate your Passions/personal side into your classroom?
2. How do you Immerse yourself into the content you are teaching?
3. Why is Rapport important with students important and how do you build on this daily?
I suppose this whole notion of teaching like a pirate hinges on romanticized archetypes like Long John Silver and Jack Sparrow. Who among us does not fancy Johnny Depp’s panache? I can imagine swaggering about the room, an edgy, fascinating creature captivating my students with my outrageous antics. Long John Silver is the better trope for educators. Jim Hawkens, bored with his mundane responsible existence, is drawn to Silver’s mystery and the promise of adventure. Long John can talk a good line to Jim, he knows how to build a relationship. Long John has a map to treasure and the map helps Jim negotiate an exotic island. Jim learns practical lessons on his journey, finds a treasure, and also struggles to find personal solutions to extreme problems. He respects the wise and practical Dr. Livesey, but Jim is not inspired by him. Morally ambiguous pirates like Silver do.
I have issues with us romanticizing pirates. The history of pirates is frankly horrendous. They terrorize for personal gain, flout morality, and either lack empathy or disregard their humanity. The real pirate in the classroom is a pretty destructive, self-centered adult. Personal gain, not learning is this adult’s goal. The sorts of management tactics applied are inspired by paradigms of power. At best, I imagine the character Fagin from Oliver Twist. A rather twisted mentor grooming children to serve and emulate him. Creepy, and dangerous. I am not pleased with the pirate metaphor for teachers.
I confess I am something of a pirate about the school. There is a little hoarding in my room. I have resources I snatched from previous schools. I recall exchanging computer monitors from colleague’s classrooms simply to achieve aesthetic uniformity. I have a great deal of trouble respecting copyright laws. I will pirate media and text ruthlessly at 8:30 in the morning to create a lesson. I acquire PDFs (and distribute them) with abandon. I confess to overlooking age restrictions on media and application accounts. I am not a perfect moral exemplar.
I have always been passionate about literature, technology, and art. These are three things I now find easy to integrate into my classroom. We spend a great deal of time talking about integrating technology into learning. For students this is an obvious approach. My blog here is an extended journey into integrating technology. There seems little point in elaborating on it and this post. There are always fellow travelers in the classroom or appreciate art. Understandably, there are other students find art pointless. I am called on to teach my students how to represent their learning in different ways, aesthetics enters into this. I’m feeling my greatest grief about integrating literacy into learning. It seems that my students are increasingly reluctant readers. I often read to my group and that affords me an opportunity to indulge my dramatic side.
I can’t immerse myself in every topic that I am asked to address in the classroom. I know I fail to inspire often. I believe passionately in the concept of a liberal education. An education that provides young people with a map, compass (moral and geographical), and the varied tools they need to explore. Where I don’t feel the passion for the subject, I try to remember to listen and respond to the passion that my students might feel for that subject. For example I have a little passion for sports, but I do know how deeply engaged my boys and girls are in very many different sports. You build relationships through being open to others. Pirates are passionate about themselves and their own needs, teachers are passionate about their students.