Watching The Time Go and Feeling Belief Grow
So, I took my daughter to her college town today. She had an apartment reserved with a security deposit, and today, August 1st, was the first day she could move in, so she did. This is her third year in college, but it will be her very first year in this town, at this particular university, and her first experience at living on her very own in an apartment with a roommate. She was fortunate to be able to live with my brother for free during her first two years of college, but now she’s stepping out on her own. New school, new apartment (new to her), and a wealth of new experiences await her. Sounds amazing, right? Well sure, but it is also creating anxiety that she struggles to deal with daily. There are some things that cause her severe stress, and new situations are definitely one of those stressors. On top of this, she had to brave the office of the Apartment Manager and sign the lease and pay the first month’s rent. Stress mixed with the excitement of this momentous occasion had me a bit apprehensive for her, but we loaded up her car and my mom’s and off we went.
Rise above the obstacles
The move in, stage one, was not as difficult as I had envisioned since we didn’t bring much of the furniture. The plan is to bring that up to her on Saturday, when we have a crew of helpful buddies to help us move the dreaded “couch.” For today, we just hauled in clothes, bedding, two dining room chairs, odds and ends, a beanbag and a gaming chair. I was glad to see that the apartment was clean, so there would not be a lot of pre-cleaning needed prior to getting her settled. But what about Yzma and Kronk? Oh, right. Let’s meet them, for they played a very pivotal role in how my daughter’s day progressed today, because these two individuals demonstrated how to Lease an Apartment Like A Pirate (No, Dave Burgess hasn’t published a new book with this title, but if he did, I recommend this Yzma and Kronk to write it.) I’ve been thinking a lot about improving my craft as a teacher this summer. I was fortunate enough to attend and present in a whirlwind of conferences with dynamic speakers, Dave included. I’ve been a fan of Teach Like A Pirate since discovering it, and it reminds me in some ways of the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. Their story is amazing in it’s own right, but if you aren’t very familiar with it, you need to click the link and discover the magic of that place. It is the same type of magic that Dave used with students and now teachers. It is the same magic that Yzma and Kronk used today on my daughter and her roommate. I am blessed to have been a witness.
People Beseech Me But They’ll Never Teach Me
Just like creativity is a mindset, so is fun. Yes, I know that sounds crazy. Fun is something you have not something you are. Wrong. Fun is something that you need to have inside you and then let it pour through your personality. It is a mindset. Closed minds can suffocate fun, but it is there within us all. It is that intangible that Dave and the Pike Place mongers tap into when working. My philosophy as a teacher is always based on fun. If I’m bored, my students will be, right? So if I have fun while we learn, then they will too. I’m sure Dave get’s criticism at times because there’s a large population of educators who struggle with the idea of learning being fun. If it’s fun, it isn’t learning. Yes, I’ve been told that. Followed by, learning isn’t supposed to be fun. Sometimes you can’t have fun. You have to work. Work isn’t fun. This was even after watching the video on the mission of the Pike Place Fish Market and how they use fun in their daily job. There are a lot of jobs out there that aren’t inherently fun, and working at a fish market has to rank right up there. But they have fun WHILE doing the not fun work. Dave employs a similar spirit of fun in his teaching system. So imagine my surprise when I observed Kronk doing a very similar thing today as he walked my daughter and her friend through all of the paperwork. It was a joy to behold.
Things that I already know (I know)
It just isn’t possible to capture the absolute entertainment of Kronk today. I’ll make a feeble attempt, but you will need to use some imagination, watch Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, (or this clip on YouTube) and sit back to enjoy this ride.
We encountered Kronk immediately after entering the building. He was cleaning the stairway rails but glanced up and smiled when he saw us. Yzma had been expecting us but had to step out for a few minutes, so Kronk, her assistant, was on the lookout for two college girls, and upon spotting us, he greeted us warmly and ushered us into the small office. He made chit chat with the girls and let his bubbly personality shine through. After he sat behind the desk and the girls sat in the chairs facing the desk, he began. Each page of the stack of documents that accompany this company’s rental process received special attention from Kronk. He used the taboo hook and teasers to introduce the content, used his voice to vary pitch, declared that the booklet about having lead in the home was better than The Fault in Our Stars, complete with a tearjerker ending, and his enthusiasm was contagious. The girls were immediately at ease as he danced them through signing and initialing a mountain of pages. He told stories and took time between giving information to chase a few rabbits down trails the girls introduced, then steered them back to the his narrative, the paperwork. Kronk made the contract seem like a story. When he presented with flair the main section of the lease agreement to the girls, he told them that it was a legal document in an imitation of a strict dad. He repeated it in a slightly different voice and made them say it too. And before they signed it, he told them that if they broke the agreement, he would put on his Matlock suit and see them in court. Sadly, I failed as a parent and my daughter (and roommate, but that isn’t on me) did not get the allusion to the Matlock television show. But she did understand the content Kronk presented. She enjoyed it. She’ll remember it, not just the content, but the experience.
You’ve Got To Believe In Yourself
As a bystander, I can tell you that I learned a lot too. The lease agreement will not allow my daughter to have a beer keg in her apartment. It is in the paperwork three times, so clearly it is important. She also can’t have a grill, a pet that the company doesn’t know about, use a flare gun to summon the maintenance guy (she asked), and can’t eat or lick the paint, grow mold on the walls, have drugs on the premises, disturb the neighbors, or be gone for more than five days without notifying the office. I learned all of this and enjoyed all of the forty-five minutes it took to go through it. Yzma arrived and the fun continued. I mentioned that Kronk had made the process fun for us, and she assured me that it is their goal to do that. Yzma continued, “Why would we want this to be boring? The stuff we have to cover is not exciting, so we might as well have fun with it!” Right. Why indeed.
Or No One Will Believe In You
Pike Place Fish Market and this company have it figured out. Dave Burgess and teachers all over have it figured out. Not only is it okay to have fun with your work, I dare say that it is imperative. If you don’t bring the fun and enjoy yourself, not only will your students struggle, but so will you. The added stress of “work” coupled with the classroom management issues can really drain us. But wait, there’s more! We’re faced with students who are under more pressure from different avenues than in the dark ages when I attended school, and regardless of why it is so, just acknowledge that it is. And finally, schools are now workplaces that are associated with danger. We have to have active shooter training, drills, and plans in event we have one at our school. Is it any wonder that fewer students are graduating from college with teaching degrees? Is it a surprise that areas across the nation struggle to find teachers, bus drivers, cooks, and substitutes? Teaching is a tough job. Let’s head into this year with fun in our hearts. We can make learning fun. We must. Our students and career longevity depend on it.
Partial lyrics are from Believer by Ozzy Osbourne.