I love the creative process..it’s time consuming and takes patience, can be costly, and forces you to look at your mistakes, but I love it.
Within the last 5 years of my teaching, I have used this same approach more than a lot to develop lesson plans in both English and Visual Arts. Before I even face the kids , I have sketched out ideas of themes, artists, and writers that it would be fun to explore.
And then, I immerse myself in them.
Kids will buy into whatever you are teaching when they see your honest enthusiasm in the subject matter; the learning will follow.
It also helps to develop relationships with kids, this positive energy, and let me tell you, once you have that relationship developed, it’s often gravy after that. Teaching Shakespeare or sketching Frida Kahlo’s portrait, uni-brow and all, becomes a classic experience of fun learning at its best.
One year I remember teaching Frankenstein to my Grade 12’s and they referred to me as “Miss Shelley” the rest of the semester. Even when they didn’t like Sylvia Plath, one class apologized for their lack of commitment to her work: “sorry Mrs. G, we just don’t get SP”.
As educators we have to be creative, we have to do a bit of entertaining (okay,maybe a lot), and we have to believe in ourselves and have faith in our audience.
So when I stumbled upon rare footage of Elvis Presley working through the B.J.Thomas hit, “I Just Can’t Help Believin’, it was a reassuring pleasure. The teacher in me sees the king’s process and watches with interest, those early stages of brainstorming, the enjoyment of putting the pieces together, not worrying about the finished project just yet. The clip starts with the rehearsal, and then takes us to the live show in Vegas where a very human and nervous EP is still fixated on forgetting the words. A busy mind indeed.
Minutes before the performance, he asks to have the words placed on a stool. Fascinating. Smart. Resilient Self-reliant. Supported.
All good things to have and to be when you are the king of rockin’ roll, an educator, a human being, a griever.
Life needs you and me to be creative. And self reliant. And all of the things the king showed himself to be in that short movie clip.
So never stop believin’ in what hangs around that proverbial corner. And while you wait immerse yourself in living: reading what you like, developing skills long forgotten, listening well and watching keenly.
And create. Please create.