Have you ever had an amazing idea for a lesson, activity, or learning guide in your head but that’s where it remains? That happens to me literally every day. For some time now, I have been contemplating on launching a blog geared towards educators but EVERY TIME the idea crossed my mind, it seems like a paralyzing fear came over me that caused my brain to freeze and that great idea to remain put. It’s funny because on a daily basis, we push our students to dig deep down inside, into their inner being, to find that creativity that will help them produce something amazing. However, we struggle to cheer ourselves on to do the same. I am a firm believer that as educators, we must practice what we preach. We can not push others to a level of creativity if we are not willing to go there ourselves (Yes! There are levels to it :-)).
Our creativity is what keeps our students coming back for more and our boldness to continue to test the waters is what keeps them hooked. Knowing this, many educators hide behind the ideas of others and pre-made lessons because of what we feel we are unable to do. Yet, we can do it and we must remind ourselves of that everyday. That lesson you’ve been thinking about…YOU CAN DO IT! The activity you’ve been dreaming of…CREATE IT! That awesome strategy you want to implement with your own twist…GO FOR IT! That vision you have for your campus…PLAN AND IMPLEMENT! And that blog you want to start…WRITE IT (That one is personally for me). When a creative thought pops into our head, it is coming from a special and divine place. A place that only God can tap and he wants to use us to push it out into the earthly realm. However, in order to do so, we can not allow the fear of intimidation or inadequacy to overcome us. It is easy to browse popular teacher website and think to yourself, “there is no way I can produce something like this,” but you can and hopefully after reading this you will!
When tapping into our creative being, you must first be willing to free your mind. Secondly, you must go forth understanding that even Edison made crappy inventions (Yeah! He too stole the ideas of others but that’s not what we are focusing on) that forced him to go back to his lab and reflect on how he could improve it. This opportunity for self-reflection is needed. As well, it is what will allow us as educators to grow in our ability to create meaningful, authentic, engaging, and relevant learning experiences for our students. Thirdly, we must be willing to take risks and keep in mind that our students may not like or respond to what we create. If they don’t, this is not the time for you give up on yourself, but an opportunity for you to seek feedback from those that matter: your students. Yeah, I said it! Allow your students to provide you with constructive feedback. We do it to them all the time. Provide students with the opportunity to be honest (all feelings aside) about what they liked and disliked about something you have attempted to implement into your class. If done properly, this open and honest dialogue will give you exactly what you need to reflect accordingly with improvement in mind. Lastly, go for it! Get into that space where your creativity thrives the most and allow those ideas to flow. Get your cup of coffee, turn on that Gangsta Rap (or Praise and Worship) and just go for it! What you have the God-given ability to create can be just as good as those amazing lessons and resources on TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers), or those PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) that you troll on Facebook, but you have to be willing to just go for it. When you hit that road block and come to that point of hesitation, remember that when you create something that is awesome, your students benefit (and so can the students of teachers across the world).
We are just weeks away from the start of school and if you are anything like myself, you have started planning mentally or physically. While it is easier to just pull out those lesson plans from last year and stick to what you have done before, never imprison your creativity. Always challenge yourself to create something new. It’ll keep you fresh on your feet and in love with what you do. As teachers and educators, we have many talents and superpowers. Do not underestimate your ability to CREATE! Free your mind and the rest will follow.