Have you ever walked into a school lately and really taken a good look at the expression on a teachers face? Normally one would say it is a look of utter exhaustion! With the piles of paperwork, IEPs and 504s to follow, state tests, evaluations, grades, behavior issues, professional development, and whatever else is going on that day one would be shocked if we had time to teach a lesson! The time that is spent running a classroom takes up a lot of focus and time that could be spent truly educating and engaging what we hope are soon to be lifelong learners sitting in the seats in front of us.
I have been told that what makes good classroom management is not only the ability to command respect and lead with a fair mind, but also to be able to completely engage the students with every important concept I teach. I recently read a book entitled Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (Yes, I thought it was literally going to be about Pirates but it was still very interesting!) This book got down to what truly can engage a student in this 21st century learning atmosphere reminding the reader what it takes to keep them interested from the time they walk in to the room until the time they walk out.
Passion- It truly is all about the passion. You wouldn’t be teaching if you didn’t have passion for educating the next generation. In order to truly engage your students they need to know that your passionate about it too. Emanate confidence about the subject and how much you love it and it will radiate around the room.
Raport- The most simple thing to engage is a student is to build a connection. Many times I have had a student stop by my room just to tell me how their day was, in my class a way I build that connection is to use music they listen to on the radio in class. Some teachers will give me a funny look when I say this, but I make it work even if I have to spend some time changing lyrics and editing audio to make it work. Just like an actual couple relationship, each side has to put in effort to make it work.
Asking the Right Questions- You can never ask too many questions! Asking the right ones that will provoke a deeper thinking and the want for self discovery will engage your students. Sometimes I like to think that their brain is asleep when they walk in school in the morning, it just takes the right questions to wake it up and begin the learning. Ask a question as soon as they enter the room and keep the gears running all day long.
Enthusiasm- I remember that scene from Ferris Bueller where attendance is being taking and Ben Stein is taking attendance. That voice just makes one want to go to sleep, imagine if you had a teacher who talked like that too? No enthusiasm, there is a reason why students fall asleep in class. Even if you have to fake it for a day, be excited about what you teach! (There is a reason why most teachers are caffeine addicts!)
Hooks- Having the proper hook to get your students interested makes all the difference. This book is the ultimate guide to catching their attention from minute one of class. From the movement hooks to the acting to the technology and even the questioning, you will find the right ones for you in here.
Pirate Crew- Arrr need help? Need support? A little too shy to do this on ye own? Form a crew of goofy scalawags to join you in your journey to be the wackiest and most engaging teacher in the building! I’ve gone through it and so can you!
This book was the silliest and best teacher read I have gone through in a long time. With the tricks in Teach Like a Pirate and the book Teach Like a Champion my classroom is quickly turning into a popular space!
What kind of hooks do you use to engage your students? Have you ever read this book before?