"Are you a PE Pirate?" by Pete Charrette

“Always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate.”

I recently saw this saying on a t-shirt one of my students was wearing. It made me laugh out loud. I asked him immediately where he bought it so I could buy one for myself. Our school mascot just so happens to be the “Pirates”, and over the past 10 years our school has been open, I have slowly grown to embrace the essence of the pirate theme. The shirt got me thinking, however, why I do celebrate the life of a Pirate when their very nature is not always worthy of admiration?

Historically, Pirates have been given a bad rep, and for good reason. They were cruel and ruthless characters that plundered the high seas to steal treasure and pillage innocent groups of people. They could be despicable and merciless, and their main choice of nutrition during work hours was sea biscuits and rum. This is hardly a group of people that should be looked up to and seen as an example of how to live.

There is, however, the other side of a Pirate: the one that we, in modern-day society today, admire and adore. Through books and movies such as “Pirates of the Caribbean”, a more romantic type of Pirate has recently emerged with a much more alluring and positive persona. It is this glorified type of Pirate that we, in the physical education profession, can seriously look to as an example of how we grow in our personal and professional lives. This newer form of Pirate is brazen and bold and lives life everyday looking for a new adventure. He or she is independent, strong and takes a unique approach in their craft. They have keen senses and know how to work as a team to accomplish goals and ultimately find the TREASURE!

Does this kind of swashbuckling Pirate sound appealing to you? Can you apply these positive traits to how you teach physical education and grow as a professional? I think so, and would like to pass on six character traits that make me want to scream, “A PE Pirate’s Life for Me!”

PE Pirates are:

P- Passionate I- Intentional R- Resilient A- Adventurous T- Tenacious E- Engaged

A PE Pirate is passionate about what they do. They are proud of their profession and understand the benefit of a physically literate child. A PE Pirate has a strong knowledge of their subject matter and is confident in their skills. They work hard to keep up with new trends and will seek out positive influences in their field. PE Pirates passionately teach each day to make a TRUE impact and ultimately change the lives of their students.

A PE Pirate is intentional in how they approach their profession. Just like a Sea Pirate maps out their course across the ocean to find their intended treasure; the PE Pirate holistically looks at their teaching methods, planning, assessment and professional learning with the intent to grow in their field. They realize that complacency in their teaching is a major factor so they intentionally stay committed to becoming a better educator.

A PE Pirate is resilient in a field of education that constantly has to go out of its way to advocate for its self-worth. They understand the many benefits of physical education and can easily back it up with valid research. PE Pirates realize that it may always be somewhat of a struggle, but are willing to stay strong as a physical literacy activist to support and advocate for their field. They are resilient, flexible and brave enough to communicate to their stakeholders why physical literacy is so important in the lives of children and adults.

A PE Pirate is adventurous in their approach to teaching on a daily basis. They are willing to take chances and be creative in how they present their subject to students. PE Pirates lean on the experience of veteran physical educators, but take their own approach to draw upon their strengths to elicit new methods for planning, teaching and assessing PE curriculum. A PE Pirate is adventurous and willing to take a risk, trusting their instincts and always staying open to changing the approach to their craft.

A PE Pirate is tenacious in becoming a better physical education teacher throughout their career. They have a firm hold of their teaching practices and are confident in their approach, but are always looking to improve what they do. A PE Pirate will not let negative circumstances alter their path. They persistently move towards personal and professional growth. PE Pirates love what they do and will tenaciously let others know how they feel about it.

A PE Pirate is engaged in the modern physical education world. Trends shift and new educational technology comes in at a rapid pace. PE Pirates sift through this onslaught to recognize constructive methods for teaching, planning and assessing their students that work in their unique situation. They know how to take what others share and interpret it in a way that brings about a positive change in their programs. A PE Pirate engages with other PE Pirates to help boost their profession and assist those that need resources to grow their programs.

Let me ask you this then… are you passionate, intentional, resilient, adventurous, tenacious and/or engaged in your profession? Do you have any of these PE Pirate traits? If you do, you are on your way to becoming a full-fledged PE Pirate! What does it take? A dedication to our field, hard work, and a passion to always better yourself as a professional. You are the Captain of your own ship! Grab the wheel, set yourself on a career-long journey and “hold on tight,” because you are set for the adventure of a lifetime!!!

Why are pirates pirates? cuz they arrrrrr!!!​

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