Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Stop listening to that inner voice that says "I'm not creative"

There is not much I remember about second grade, but there is one remarkably vivid memory that sticks with me.  I'm not sure why I remember this above other parts of second grade, but for some reason I still remember Sister Edmund telling me that I could only 'move my lips' when we sang during our first communion.  I was too short to move out of the front row, so I had to look like I was singing even though I was not 'good enough' to actually sing! 

That memory came back again today as I watched Tom Murray's Leadership minute.
When Tom starts the video and calls himself "not creative", I wanted to reach out to him and say - STOP, TOM! Too many teachers are saying that - and saying that in front of kids! 


Thankfully, this was just a lead into  @thetechrabbi  saying exactly that!  Rabbi Michael Cohen defines creativity as

 "how you think and see the world... and when you think and are more aware of connections of how things can be used together for a greater good ..." 

I still remember the EXACT moment when I shook that inner voice and started to see myself as a creative person. 

I was hanging out along Lake Champlain with my son, Adam, decompressing after a long day leading professional development with a group of teachers in my rural Vermont community. Adam had just graduated college and was setting forth into the world with a B.A. in music. I had asked him to lead a workshop on some music tools for educators in my summer institute.  As we reflected on the day, and on life in general and what was next for him, he turned to me and said

"I wonder what my life would have been like if I had a normal mom"
I laughed and then the light bulb came on - perhaps I did contribute to your creative lifestyle by modeling creativity in how I approach life.  Maybe, you did not get your musical talent from me, kiddo, but maybe you got something from me that helped you be so successful as a creative! And then I started to think about all the ways I was creative that had nothing to do with skills in art and music.  And like @thetechrabbi said above, most of them had to do with how I see the world, and how I saw connections between things that were less than obvious, and how I was able to take risk and try things where I might fail. 

Most educators do this EVERY day! They are some of the most creative people I know.  Yet, I still hear pre-service and in-service teachers say "I'm not really that creative".  These are the same educators who are designing lessons that will contribute to the creation of the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.   One of the the Transferrable Skills Vermont educators are expected to help their students meet is "Creative and Practical Problem Solving".  

Let us all stop listening to that inner voice that tells you that we are not creative -- and please stop saying it in front of kids and colleagues.  Let's rejoice in the way, we as educators, are constantly making connections between unlike objects and concepts to help our students learn.  And, let's make sure we model  CREATIVITY for our students as well as help them discover how they are creative.

That inner voice will resurface, especially when you surround yourself with skilled artists and musicians.   You'll have to remind yourself of HOW YOU ARE CREATIVE, TOO!  
I have to remind myself of that often, as I sit and listen to these two young men.  (warning #proudmamamoment) 

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