“Catch the Wind” by Ian Sane (Flickr)
One week on from leaving my job as a classroom teacher with nearly a decade of experience, I’m sitting down at the computer to once again find a creative angle on my life as an educator. As those who write infrequently know, it can be very difficult finding the voice after lengthy periods of silence – and all too often, the fear of “talking loud and saying nothing” can easily take hold and stop you from working out so many ideas in the head. The whole decision to hold off writing can become a non-virtuous circle very quickly.
As a teacher, writer, researcher and blogger, I’ve often grappled with so many different ideas about technology, learning, creativity and thinking – ideas that are challenging, disarming, enlightening, scary, productive, useless, half-baked or life-changing. Most of the good ones belong to others; occasionally I’m lucky enough to have one of my own, whether it comes seemingly from out of nowhere or takes its time to germinate while I do something related or unrelated. At the best of times, I’m bubbling with ideas – so many that I find it hard to shut down and sleep. At the worst of times, the creative urges aren’t there; I can see there are plenty of ideas and I take my time chewing through as many as I can, but somehow my mind doesn’t seem to respond with its own take on things in order to form a perspective that can find a way through it all. So I accept my own confusion and form a sense of learned helplessness.
I suppose thinking about creativity in Education is one way of making that blog post finally happen and there is something magical in the decision to sit down and write about some of the ideas – however small – that have made up my world in the past few months. Writing as a process of formation is perhaps a bit like catching something in the wind – if you’re lucky and skilful enough, you manage to take hold of it. However, the refusal to write, for me at any rate, so often means that the ideas end up never being fully formed, shared, scrutinised and allowed to breathe. On a personal note, this means that I never get around to writing that one post that could become an idea to change my practice or at least make me think a little more about what I’m doing. On a broader note, I think about so many people that work so hard, only to go home every night and de-stress in front of a DVD. How many good ideas are lost in the ether? How much wasted creativity do we risk by not continually exploring our own ideas and finding ways to share these with like-minded individuals?
Of course, there’s really no easy answers to these questions. Perhaps asking them is more important than answering them?