E for Enthusiasm!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

​Words: 1,446

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Hey y’all, your friendly Southern educator here……

I’m gonna have to be honest here, I have no witty intro today. I’ve tried to make one up, but to be honest, it’s forced and just doesn’t go along with how I really feel. Home is where the heart is and today I’m sitting in my daddy’s home and feeling like I’d rather not be anywhere else. I’m not itching to go anywhere or do anything or keep the roads hot with the borrowed van. I’m content to sit here and just piddle around doing bits and pieces, but this visit is actually one of the hardest visits I’ve had since leaving for China because I have to make a lot of hard decisions concerning my family.

How do I get through it? I keep education and my love of education at the foremost part of my brain. I keep finding new things to try and new things to teach in between the bouts of waiting time for decisions to be made. Why do these things keep me upbeat and going? Because of two reasons: Passion and Enthusiasm. The two cornerstones of being a PIRATE.

It’s no wonder why these two go hand in hand, without passion, how would one work up any kind of enthusiasm? But before we get into the last piece of Teach Like a Pirate, let’s recap:

P-Passion (love what you do)

I-Immersion (be in the moment)

R-Rapport (build a meaningful relationship)

A-Ask and Analyze (question everything and revise your thoughts)

T-Transformation (change, change and more change)

Now on to E-Enthusiasm!!!

“Excellence as a teacher starts with having passion for what you do in life, and is driven home with your enthusiasm.”     Dave Burgess….Teach Like a Pirate

Enthusiasm is so important that you can actually know nothing of technique, but be passionate and enthusiastic and become a great teacher. Technique can be learned later, but having technique and no enthusiasm?? No Passion?? I would expect you to be something akin to the “Boy Meets World” teacher. ‘Teacher’ in a very, very flexible sense of the word.

It’s a skill that separates the good, the bad and the ugly in this world of people who call themselves teachers, but know nothing about teaching.

Enthusiasm is a skill?

Well, yeah! Ever heard a preacher get worked up on the pulpit, but then sit down and have a normal day to day activity with him? He’s on fire on the pulpit, but turns out he’s just a regular guy when sittin’ on your couch or at your dinner table or workin’ together on a project. His personality isn’t to jump and yell and scream, that’s enthusiasm and it’s a dang good skill to have if you want money for the church or if you want your kids to be engaged in the classroom. Who’re you gonna listen to, the person ON FIRE!! or the monotonepersonwhoneverspeedsuporslowsdownandhasnomovementwhatssoever?

Who do you want to learn from: the enthusiastic person who works hard to make even the most boring stuff engaging..or….the person there who only cares about technique and punching the clock.

“I’ll always choose a teacher with enthusiasm and weak technique over one with brilliant strategies but who is just punching the clock. Why? An enthusiastic teacher can learn technique, method, and strategy, but it is almost impossible to light a fire inside the charred heart of a burned-out teacher.”    Dave Burgess…..Teach Like a Pirate

Educators = Performers

Ever been in charge of a child’s birthday party? Ever been in charge of keeping people awake during the annual training of safety meetings? If you have, then you know exactly what it means to be a performer while also being an educator. Performers don’t always “feel it” when they step on stage, but they know people are paying to have the best experience possible and if they don’t, it’s on you, no excuses for circumstances or surroundings or anything else. YOU are the key. Your posture, your movements, your breathing, your engagement strategies, your….performance. Enthusiasm is contagious. Sometimes, you have to fake it till you make it. That is why it is a skill. Passion is natural, enthusiasm is a skill that comes from being passionate. 

If you need help in this area….take a trip (virtually if not physically) to watch many types of preachers and churches. You’ll soon discover who has it and who doesn’t. Those who have it, have developed it over time because they want their passion to show through (or they want to gather as much money as possible). 

Enthusiastic teachers are overbooked and sought after. The jobs come to them, while others are seeking and looking and sending out resumes hoping for interviews.

“Performers who are weak or lack audience-engagement skills get eaten alive. Sounds like teaching doesn’t it?”     Dave Burgess…..Teach Like a Pirate

Light your fire!

And exactly how do I do that? By changing your mental and emotional state.

“Act as if” principle applies here. Unlike passion, enthusiasm can be faked (as I said before). Trust me on this….it’s true. If you don’t believe me or Dave, then take a walk down memory lane to the movie When Harry met Sally. Yep, the scene in the diner. 

Pure fake enthusiasm and such a wonderful performance of it too. If you “act as if” long enough, your thoughts change, your dynamics change, your mental state changes and that’s how you light your fire even on the most tiring of days. Your last performance of the day has to be just as engaging as the first. “Act as if” you haven’t taught this particular thing 10 times already today.

“If you adopt a vital, dynamic, excited physiology, you automatically adopt the same kind of state. The biggest leverage we have in any situation is physiology—because it works so fast, and it works without fail.”    Dave Burges…..Teach Like a Pirate

It’s not easy.

Some days are easier than others. This is the part where my daddy would say “folks, let me let you in on a little secret, nobody is perfect.” There are always things we let slide in the classroom. Maybe we don’t grade papers on time, maybe we don’t score the group work exactly the way it should be, maybe we focus less on the technical side and more on the fun side, etc etc etc. In the big scheme of things, these don’t matter too awful much. If you have passion and are enthusiastic, you are already a step above the others.

I used to think “if I can do, why can’t you?” I realize that’s a bad attitude because I have something others don’t….I have the passion to fake the enthusiasm until it takes effect for real when I’m with a student. I put my students first, I sacrifice myself to meet their educational needs on a daily basis. I realize as I get older and see these “teachers” of today, what a unique quality that is to have in a person. I do not think I am better than anyone else, I just have a love of quality education and my goal has always been to make a difference in the lives of children.

Many people don’t know this, but I suffer from a chronic pain condition that is incurable, it will only get worse with time and affects every aspect of my nervous system. Doctors are baffled at how I am still going and functioning without huge amounts of painkillers. Matter of fact, they said that I wouldn’t be working much longer….nearly 10 years ago. It was a “hold my beer” moment. I’m still going, a little slower, and more rest breaks, but I’m going…..why? 

3 words: Passion for kids!! 

It’s the passion that ignites the enthusiasm that keeps me going even when I don’t want to. It’s ingrained in me to not give up, it’s the children’s faces I see in my mind when I feel like staying in bed and giving in to the disease almost on a daily basis, it’s work ethic that daddy instilled in me, it’s an unspoken contract between me and my students…..it’s many things, but it all starts with passion which leads to enthusiasm which leads to wonderful lessons and makes me happy that I did get out of bed that day.

I’ll leave you now, with one last thought from Dave:

“I guarantee that your students have many people in their lives who are trying to kill their enthusiasm and dampen their spirits. Infect your lessons and everything you do with enthusiasm and then watch it spread.”   Dave Burgess….Teach Like a Pirate

As Always,

Be Kind,

With Love,

Christy

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Who is Christy? I’m just a simple country girl who wanted to make a difference in children’s lives by becoming the best teacher/model I could. I want to promote teachers to be more than just a person in a room. I want to help them to love and guide all children to become the best person they can be. Want to know more? Add Christy’s WeChat to get to know more about her and all the great things she does with education. 

WECHATID: AuntieChristy


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Other Articles by Christy:

Teachers, It’s time to CHANGE!( Part 4)

Pirate Teachers are HERE (Part 3)

Teach Like a Pirate:  How to be a Pirate! (Part 2)

Do you want to be a teacher or a pirate? (Part 1)

Order and Chaos

How do you teach 3-5 year olds?

The Struggle is Real (Modeling Behavior)

How to create YOUR perfect classroom

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