Reflections From “Teach Like a Pirate”

This spring I attended NAPDS in Washington DC. where I was fortunate enough to hear Dave Burgess speak. I’ve heard of him through Twitter and some of the teachers and administrators in my PLN talk about his work. Seeing him in person is much better than reading tweets!


I’ve always considered myself a rather enthusiastic educator, but I wouldn’t say I exude passion every day I teach, and I certainly don’t fake boring topics all that well. I’m not giddy about teaching grammar or the edTPA. 🙂 I would say, though, I’m passionate about lots of areas in teaching. When I think of writing prompts, I study my audience and figure out how to market my prompts. When I’m selling a book, I think of what would attract my students. Even then, I’m still not the ham that Dave Burgess is in the classroom. He clearly “brings it.”


Although you should really read the book, I’ll give you a few take aways in hopes you’ll be curious enough to read it on your own.

  1. Try ideas even when you fail. Give something bizarre a shot. Dress in costume. Sing a song. Play music really loud. Dance like a flapper. Sell your topic. Create a memorable learning experience. Are you going to have a few lame duck moments? Yeah, I suppose. Been there. As I’ve gained experience though, I’ve had way more successes than lame ducks, and I’m creating better experiences for students all the time. Am I perfect? FAR from it. Not every student loves my classes, but I’m more interesting, entertaining, and engaging than I ten years ago because I haven’t let off the gas. I keep taking risks. If you don’t consider yourself a risk taker or envelope pusher, then you need to read this book.
  2. Sell the hell out of your most boring stuff. Here’s something for me to tackle. When I talk about edTech with college students, I am fairly enthusiastic, but when I talk about the edTPA, I’m just vanilla about it. I try not to be negative, but I’m not wild either. No one leaves my class saying, “Jeeze, she really seems excited about the edTPA.” Burgess will give you SEVERAL IDEAS on how to step up your enthusiasm for the dull stuff.

These two reasons alone, should cause you to think that the book is worth your time. It’s a quick packed with lots of ideas on how to sell your content and step up your presentation skills. If you’re someone that’s been needing a boost of inspiration, here’s your book.

Check it out. Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.


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