Friday, January 01, 2010
As a teacher, I have often heard “creativity” spoken of as though it’s a quality in short supply – an attribute that some students are fortunate to have and others will never have – but I find this notion increasingly puzzling. It seems clear to me that all of my students are constantly being creative during English class, simply because their minds are always manufacturing thoughts. For 48 minutes, thoughts are steadily arising in their minds, which add up to about 2,880 fresh, newborn ideas per student. I may wish the ideas were more in tune with my lesson plans, but, in tune or not, the ideas are there, sprouting by the thousands in each class. I try to keep that in mind as I’m teaching. I sometimes visualize the creativity occurring in the students’ minds – the thoughts bursting like firecrackers, shooting from mental pistols, pushing out like leaves, soaring aloft by the hundreds like spanking new kites. The truth is that my students – all of them – can’t avoid being creative. The ideas that spring up nonstop in their brains during class may not fit my private definition of “creative”, and may sail miles away from my lesson and be burning with sorrow and bitterness, but they’re truly as creative as sudden and constant sunrises or storms.