Learn Like a Pirate {Chapter 2}

2. Common Concerns about Student-Led Classrooms

I’m linking up with The Primary Gal for Chapter 2 of Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz.

Ok…so last week I got over excited and extended my post to include the first two chapters…that’s pirate like, right?  I just couldn’t contain myself!

I love the way that Paul Solarz basically tells us to quit complaining and go for it!

I really want to build a student centered classroom…I’m reading Learn Like a Pirate and hosting a book study on The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, which are both about giving some control to our students.  I’m hoping to make some big changes…but I’m a little scared.

Things I’m not scared of:

My room is already loud (Concern: But Won’t my room get loud?).  My kids are usually on task but working together, and lets be serious…first graders have no idea how to talk in a whisper or use their quiet voices, they just talk.

“This will be too much work”  Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever said this sentence.  It’s actually a problem: I have to do everything…  I literally said to my principal today “I mean, I’d do it for nothing…but it’s nice to be paid.”  Really.  I said that sentence out loud.   My business friends would die.  But it’s true…I love my job in a completely nerdy way.  And I’m ok with it.

“My way of teaching has worked for (10) years.  I don’t need to change.”  I hate when people say “We’ve always done it that way” as a reason for doing something.  It’s a valid point, but it’s not a reason.  If there’s a better way, it’s worth looking at.

Things I am actually scared of…

“I’m going to make a lot of mistakes.” and “My students can’t do this.” I don’t like to fail (seriously, who does?!?)  Changes are work.  They require us to work outside our comfort zone, which is hard.  BUT as Solarz lists in a separate concern…I’m ok with my students struggling.  I actually think they need this “opportunity.”  We so often want to protect our students from struggle…but isn’t that part of life?  I’m totally guilty of this as a parent, but try so hard not to be!  I want to keep my children from pain, but I want to teach them to cope with failure.  I want them to learn from the things that don’t work, in my safe and protected environment.  If they learn how to work through struggle now, it will ultimately help them.  I also can’t stand when teachers give the excuse “My students can’t…”  Why can’t they?  Probably because the teacher won’t let them…but I’ve been that teacher, too.

I’m working on it…I promise!

I want my student to lead my class (mostly).   I want them to learn by doing.  I want to be able to provide immediate feedback and give students the opportunity to struggle, fail and succeed.

As my building moves toward technology based learning I found this quote powerful:

“In this day and age when technology enables our students to find answers to their questions in seconds, we can serve them better by teaching them to ask better questions and empowering them to discover the answers themselves.”

Isn’t that what education is for?  To teach kids to find their own answers?

I believe it is.

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2 Responses to Learn Like a Pirate {Chapter 2}

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this post! Your reflections on your practice are honest and insightful! You’re the kind of teacher our students need! Thank you for reading “Learn Like a PIRATE,” blogging about it, and considering the methods in your own classroom! I sincerely look forward to reading your posts each week! 🙂


    • Elisabeth says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!
      I am truly enjoying the book and it’s a perfect summer read to make some meaningful changes to my practice for next year. 🙂


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