More often than not, I finish reading professional development books or leave a long day of PD feeling completely inadequate. The gist is always, “if you do such and such you will be a better teacher,” or “just add these extra however many lessons and your students will be better off,” or “you just need to do more.” It really tears me down. It makes me feel like I’m never doing enough, or that I’m not a good teacher if I don’t spend an extra million hours outside of my workday working.
The thing about being a teacher that we must understand is that we are never done. There will always be one more thing we can work on, one more stack of papers to grade, one more parent email to write, one more lesson to prep. You can’t keep working until everything is done because that day will never come. I regained some of my sanity when I learned to go home at the end of the day and leave work at work. I’m not procrastinating, but I realized that stack of papers does not need to be graded tonight. (I definitely don’t do this perfectly. I’m still at school about 9 hours a day, but it’s a work in progress.)
Anyway, I just finished reading a fantastic book about teaching that I found encouraging, inspiring, and hilarious. It’s called Teach Like a Pirate and you can get more information about Dave Burgess and his book here.
I wrote a blog post a while back about using your passions in your teaching, which is the premise of Burgess’ book. You can read that post here.
Another main premise in the book is to sacrifice your pride for the sake of your students’ leaning. Look ridiculous and be okay with it! Act silly, use accents, put on skits, do something out of the ordinary to engage your kiddos.
I had a teach like a pirate lesson this week. We started learning about bones so I dressed up in full skeleton costume. The looks on my students’ faces were priceless when they walked in after lunch and saw me looking so silly. But I got them excited about our new unit, which was the goal.
I would love to hear what fantastic and inspiring professional development books you recommend.
On a technology side note, I use two really cool apps to teach bones. The first is Human Body by Tiny Bop. It is really kid friendly and shows many body systems. We look at the whole skeleton and how it moves and also what the inside of bones look like.
The other app is called D. Bones. It has a puzzle mode where students try to place the bones in the right place (all the while tapping stray snowflakes that block their screen.) There is also a mode that teaches the bone names.
What new and exciting iPad apps would you recommend?