In follow-up to the hit series Teach Like a Pirate, I am working on two books to inspire you in the new year. If you want, you can already start planning how you will decorate your faculty room as part of your book club celebration. 1
In case students have become bored by the pirate routine, Teach Like a Stripper will show you how to increase student engagement and reclaim your professional identity. Topics to include:
- integrating the arts: lighting and music
- developing student-centered routines
- formative ass-essment
- fostering student choice and autonomy
- tech integration and STE(A)M through costume design
Now, if you are going to go through the process of professional reinvention, you might be asking yourself, ‘how can I really cash in?’ In that case, you should take the more entrepreneurial road and try to make a shit load of money by consulting. So, I present Consult Like a Pirate (#CLAP), which will show you how to cash in while also helping me to pay my bills.
Since we are playing by pirate rules, here are some no-nos.
- Do not publish your speaking fees. You do not want some smart-ass math teacher using the chart paper and markers to calculate what their school could have bought instead of your lame presentation.
- Avoid articulating how your consulting gig intersects with your public sector gig (if you still have one). Are you working on developing your own business when you are on the public’s dime? Are you still getting paid by your school district while someone else is paying you to give a presentation? Awk-ward!
- Steer away from criticizing any of your competing interests. It is OK to criticize standardized testing, but if you mention companies by name, then it will be difficult for you to build a consulting relationship with said companies. If Ken Robinson specifically called out Pearson, this talk would have been a lot more awkward and I bet he wouldn’t be featured on their site.
- Never try to publish your own book with a reputable press. Try Independent Thinking or Dave Burgess Press.
- Don’t overestimate the intelligence of the people in front of you. These assholes are getting PD’d by you for a reason. Infantalizing activities and stickynotes will help keep them in their place.
- Try not to be too precise about your current context. It is much easier to get away with saying that you have vowed to never address the whole class if your followers don’t realize that you teach adults. Likewise, if you don’t currently teach, teachers might wonder how the fuck you know what you are talking about.
- Don’t be afraid to shill for a company. 2 Google won’t pay you, but you can use their name and brand to sell books. And everyone loves demo slams.
- And last, for gods sake, make it sound like you used to teach in some capacity somewhere. Again, keep details to a minimum. You don’t want to get bogged down answering questions about what you used to do, but rather focus the attention on how the teachers before you need to get their shit together before they become obsolete.
Since the vast majority of you teachers will have to sit through some kind of crap PD like this in the next year, I recommend that you start putting together some strategies to help you maintain engagement. 3
Option 1 is to make some bingo cards where you slot eduspeak into a grid and pretend that you are taking careful notes. Please be careful not to get burned by yelling out ‘BINGO!’ at approximately 25 minutes into the PD when the guy mentions how we are ‘preparing kids for careers that don’t exist yet.’ On the upside, they might mistake it for encouragement and you might make their day.
Option 2 is to adapt games such as ‘would you rather?’: “Would you rather look like a dick by asking a thoughtful question or smile and nod so we can all get the hell out of this PD session as quickly as possible?”