Saturday, June 22, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 6:EN-THU-SI-ASM

Happy SUMMER weekend friends! I really don't think there is ANYTHING better than a summer Sunday: no lesson plans, no centers to cut out, no trips up to school! 

I love that summer allows all of us a chance to take a deep breath in and also allows for a long exhale as we rest, reconnect with family and friends, and more than likely work a little on plans for the new school year!

Summer is allowing me to do a much better job at blogging and I am thrilled to be hosting Chapter 6-Enthusiasm for the "Teach Like a Pirate" by David Burgess book study today!

Mr. Burgess starts off the chapter by saying, "I believe excellence as a teacher starts with having passion for what you do in life, and is driven home with your enthusiasm."

I so loved the chapter on passion, actually have loved every chapter, but since I was going to be writing about this chapter I decided to really dig into what the word "ENTHUSIASM" means!

 I love this definition! INTENSE and EAGER enjoyment! What does that mean in my classroom? As Mr. Burgess suggests it means that as a teacher I am ON 24/7 when I am with my students!

 err....really how do we do that?

 How can we do that, without burning out?

Well, Mr. Burgess said something that surprised me, he wrote, " Unlike passion, enthusiasm can be faked!" Ummm? Really? What? He went on to write, "Faking enthusiasm is so easy I can sum it up in two words: ACT enthusiastic" He goes on to say that while you are "acting enthusiastic" you will BECOME enthusiastic.


My first teaching job (15 years ago!) was teaching 9th Graders English Literature. The literature part was not a problem for me, I LOVE teaching literature! The GRAMMAR part was a problem for me! I HATE TEACHING GRAMMAR. Especially in the way the school required. The first few weeks I was a mess and of course my students were a mess during grammar class time.

One of my students came up to me one day and said, "Miss Carmen how come our literature lessons are so fun and you are so happy, but on grammar days you are sad and the lessons are boring?" I tried to blame it on the subject…GRAMMAR IS BORING, but I thanked her and told her I would TRY to make some changes.

The next week on Grammar Days I put a poster outside the classroom door that said "YEAH! It's Grammar Day!" The kids would walk in laughing about it. I would start off the lesson with a quote about why grammar is important or use a popular song to teach a lesson on prepositions.

I was TRYING to be enthusiastic. The kids were starting to become a bit more engaged. I remember thinking, "I hate teaching grammar, BUT if I am excited then THEY are excited."

I kept at it and true to Mr. Burgess words things changed for me and most importantly for my kids. "Grammar Day" lessons become important to me as a teacher, which means I started researching and truly lesson planning for them. I discovered a bit of a passion for teaching grammar (albeit a TINY bit).

The other big point from this chapter is to choose what you focus on. Do you choose to focus on the negative experiences or on the positive experiences? I like how the author talks about our state of mind. We truly do control what goes in and what goes out! I think I spend... WASTE... SO MUCH emotional energy on silly things throughout my day. I sometimes care TOO much about what others think!

A few years ago I went through a REALLY tough time in my life. I started struggling with panic attacks, never had them in my life before, but here they came! All enthusiasm was SAPPED out of me. I found that my THOUGHT LIFE had SO MUCH to do with how bad the panic attacks got. I had to really learn how to focus my thoughts and how to release the negative self-talk that was truly in my head!

Some things I tried (and still do) were to have a lot of positive quotes around my classroom, around my house, EVERYWHERE. A great source for some great printable positive quotes is over at Sweet Blessings. I also created a play list of songs to help me out! I could just push play on that play list and breathe in and breathe out!

All this to say I had to...I HAVE to choose to focus on the positive! Our world is SO FULL of negativity...let's choose to not only focus on joy, happiness, and ENTHUSIASM  but to SHARE IT as well!

Enthusiasm is about SPIRIT!
Enthusiasm is about HELPING OTHERS!
Enthusiasm is about SHOWING UP!
Enthusiasm is about MAKING SOMEONE'S DAY!

This is one of my favorite quotes from this chapter! First of all who doesn't love Carols Santana! Secondly, this is all I be able to give JOY. I think that we can't just keep our enthusiasm to just our classroom! We have to spread it EVERYWHERE in the school building...especially the workroom and the teachers' lunchroom.

I have been very intrigued by the TED talks lately. I typed in "enthusiasm" in the search bar and I was introduced to this truly amazing man: Benjamin Zander. I hope you will watch this! It is worth every minute and truly shows us this chapter in action!


"Shiny Eyes!" ...our students will ONLY have shiny eyes if we are enthusiastic teachers! 

If you have a post to share or just want to read more ideas about this book check out the posts here!

I wish you the BEST in this summer and for the next school year! I hope it is filled with lots of "Teach Like a Pirate" moments and lots and lots of "shiny eyes!" 


  1. Loved this post!! Thank you for sharing :) I've been away from blogging for awhile, but I'm quite interested in hearing more about this booK!
    Teaching in Paradise

    1. Hi Courtney! Highly recommend reading it! It is a quick read, but one that will STAY with you!
      Happy Sunday!
      :) Carmen

  2. Carmen - I've only been teaching for a few years, but I have definitely noticed that when you're in a bad mood or not enthusiastic the kids aren't working for you. This is a great blog post because it's that affirmation of what we need to do. I've enjoyed reading about this book.


    1. HI Becky!
      Thanks for stopping by! YEP you got it! I think it is the same with Staff Development....oh how I wish the staff development teachers would get excited about what they are teaching!! Then maybe I WOULD get excited!

      :) Happy Sunday!

  3. Great post! I can so relate to your story about teaching grammar. I am not a Texas born and raised gal so when I taught 4th grade and had to teach Texas history I was so bored out of my mind. How do I make Stephen F. Austin sound exciting when I think he is boring?! I'm a bit hooked on the TED talks myself!

    Rowdy in First Grade

    1. Thanks so much for letting me host the chapter! It was a lot of fun! I so love this book!

      : )Carmen

  4. GREAT POST! I loved every word and can feel your enthusiasm for our profession written all over your review of this book!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. Oh Brandee! Thank you SO much for your kind, kind words! You have made my day!


  5. Carmen I love this post!!! I have to work on focusing on the positives and shutting the negatives out, at least while I am in front of my students. I can release all the stress at home or on the way home, blasting music or something. Because that stress really does bring me down, and it is very hard to have control over it sometimes. Thanks for hosting!
    Third Grade Tidbits

    1. Thanks so much! THANKS for letting me be part of all of this! :)

      SO MUCH FUN!

  6. Thank you for sharing! You are correct, enthusiasm, as well as being positive is contagious and a choice.

    2 Smart Wenches

  7. Really enjoyed the post especially the TED video. I loved what he said about how do your children see you through shiny eyes? Math was my grammar moment this past year teaching third grade fractions. But I searched for fun strategic avenues to teach my students how to determine equivalent fractions. Those eyes were shiny once I became enthused about the subject.