“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook
Creative teachers adapt lessons to make learning inviting and attract students to engage. Creativity is essential to being a teacher. What is a creative teacher? A creative teacher can utilize different ideas, interests, resources, and techniques, then incorporate them into lesson plans. Being a creative teacher perhaps does not happen as naturally as one might think.
Teachers go to school to learn to be teachers. They encounter the standard practices or school of thought now. They practice teaching strategies that are tried and true, seldom ever being allowed to do it differently. Perhaps teacher education is one of the biggest reasons why teachers are stifled. They get the idea that being a creative person is not what teaching is all about. Nothing could be further from the truth. It might explain a lot of things. Like why do so many teachers burn out after two to three years? Why do so many teachers feel their jobs are tiring, strenuous, and stressful?
The creative teacher is excited to be in the classroom regardless. They love and want to try new things and they do it while having fun. Too many teachers are whiners. They look at the school and its resources and just shrug. They claim they are just being held down due to a lack of things. Well, let’s look at what the creative teacher does. The creative teacher thinks about what they can do with the things and situations they are in. It may sound corny, but they use lemons and make lemonade. Why? Simple. They are creative teachers! Now, how about you?
It starts by wanting to get out of the comfort zone you have been put in. The cliche of thinking outside the box holds here.
Turn your classroom on its head. Don’t just stand, lecture, and teach. Take your class outside, if possible,occasionally. The four walls of your classroom can feel like a prison. They choke creativity.
If going outside is not an option, think of what you can do to your room to make it less stifling. Rearrange the desks and chairs often. If you must stand in the front and lecture, and there is nothing wrong with that if done when needed, then start by wandering around the room as you do it. Treat your classroom as if it is some magical land that can be transformed into something better.
Use your personal experiences and stories when lecturing. Even ask your students for some.Tell a tale, fiction, or otherwise on the topic at hand. If you need to, make on up. Remember, you want to be a creative teacher, right? So, start creating. And listening. Did you know that a creative teacher listens? And is it a good one? Your lectures should be interactive, getting all students involved. Yes, it can be done in any subject. Start thinking creatively.
Every lesson, project, and topic can cross the line of subjects. You can incorporate math into a language arts lesson, language arts into a math lesson, design an art project for PE classes, and so on. The possibilities of cross-subjects are endless.
What do your students like to do? If you passed out a questionnaire at the beginning of the year, you would know this. Oh, you did not do that. Well, do it now! Incorporate different current interests and topics into your teaching. Think! It’s not hard when you put your Creative Teacher cap on.
Every classroom should have lessons that incorporate all the senses. Yes, all! Sight, sound, touch, and smell? Oh, if the resources aren’t available, you’d have to be quite creative to do that!Instead of just assigning standard problems, essays, or reports, a creative teacher adds more. Or subtracts.
Your assignments should be interesting and have a real-world reason to exist. What, you can’t think of a real-world reason for teaching or assigning something? Your students already know! That is if you are a creative teacher. Engage your students, let the students create, build, or solve a problem instead of a set of mindless, rote questions to answer. Sometimes you must assign problems and let them use real-life situations to discover the solution. A creative teacher knows the limit.