Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Just Got Chills

I'm not sure how to start this one, so I'm just going to.

I just read a blog post tweeted to me by Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate.  I love the book, and I've already talked about that.  There's something there for everyone.  But for @tansmom, it apparently meant a lot more.

I feel as if I am jumping on a bandwagon or just being redundant, but I shared a lot her sentiment.  I have sat here most of my summer learning from so many people, collecting ideas and rejuvenating myself in an effort to be the best that I can this year.  I can't stand being like other teachers.  I mean I want to be talented and respected like other teachers, but I want to be different too.  I want to do things my way, not out of arrogance, or ignorance, but out of passion and creativity.

I'm 27.  I'm closer in age to my students in most cases than my colleagues.  Separating my professional, academic, and personal lives is getting harder in today's society.  I believe that barriers between them should exist, but be much less strict than other people do.  I think engagement is necessary, creativity is vital, and rapport is required.  And because of those things, I take a lot of risks too.  And sometimes they blow up in my face.

I know exactly what @tansmom is talking about when mentions being tired.  I too fought a battle with my health this year.  In April I was diagnosed with MS.  It shook me to my core, scared me to death, and created a moment in my life where I knew a new self would live going forward, and an old self had been left behind.  I did the same thing and somewhat punted the last month of school away.  Just sitting at my desk and trying to act like I was ok was all I could do.

It was at about that time that I found PLN's and Twitter, blogging, and the playful banter of digitally connected educators.  They were people who thought like me.  They were coming up with great ideas and sharing them.  I shared mine too.

But my way, my ideas, aren't always totally accepted.  I joke with my students a lot.  I don't sweat small stuff, and I surely don't make them sit silent day in and day out.  Forgetting something isn't a big deal until someone does it constantly.  We've reenacted, argued, gotten loud, used technology, and created culture and camaraderie.  That's ruffled feathers, but guess what?  I'm not going anywhere.

And to those veteran teachers who are trying to raise a pirate flag, you are our most valuable sailors on this voyage.  You have the passion and creativity that has been tempered with wisdom and experience.  You know how to guide us younger pirates that may shoot first and ask questions later.

So don't give up the fight.  Fly your flag.  Go down with your ship, but not sinking because it's worn and neglected.  Go down in a blaze of glory.  Never strike your colors, and stay true to yourself.  When it's all said and done and you see that former student in several years, what do you want them to remember?

And who knows?  Maybe the waves we will cause will spark more learning, more ideas, and more people to join the crew.

You're not alone.

Mr. J.

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