Reflective Teaching Questions: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (September 2014)

I saw this challenge on FB and decided to take it on.  Thanks to NWP for always prompting me to push myself.  We’ll see how much I can write for “Thirty Days of Reflection” @teachthought

September 1

Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!

To be creative! Quite a few years ago I read the short book (only 135 pages) by Lyn Heward and John U. Bacon entitled Cirque du Soleil The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All. I revisit the book periodically especially during the winter doldrums. This summer, while doing some reorganizing, I saw it on one of my bookshelves and picked it up again. Last school year and this summer were tough as our contract expired and negotiations were not going well. Morale was low and continued to be throughout the summer as negotiations dragged on, so I thought maybe revisiting at least the parts I underlined in The Spark would spark the fire within me again.   It did. Here are a few of the quotes that hopefully will inspire you too:

“True creativity requires collaboration…and yes, even conflict and confrontation” p. 23. I will look at conflict and confrontations as a springboard for my creativity, not as something to always avoid.

“Constraints on time, money, and resources can be incredible motivators!” p. 28 Every teacher understands this one right? And this one, “She does it not because she has to, but because she loves it.” again p. 28

“But you have to learn to take the right risks—risks that will allow you to fulfill your vision.” p. 33. Ah yes, I must model risk-taking so my students will take risks too. I use this idea especially when I’m teaching writing. This one works too, “To me, creativity is, first and foremost, all about courage—a willingness to take risks, to try new things, and to share the experience with others.” p. 35

“If there are too many restrictions, you stop thinking about what you can do and start thinking about what you cannot do.” P. 47 Isn’t this part of the problem with the CCSS (which I’m not totally against) and standardized tests and scripted curriculum, etc.? I must admit, I do try to look for the ways (maybe devious ways) work around restrictions.

There are many more quotes in this tiny little book, but I’ll leave you with my favorite. “Deadlines!…Of course they always come too fast, but without them, your mind is not focused. With them, on the other hand, your panicked mind starts coming up with crazy ideas it never would have otherwise.” p. 45   I feel this every Sunday night during the school year, especially between about 4 and 6 pm. This year I will look at deadlines as a positive push towards creativity, not as just another stressor in my life.