Connected Principals Posts

George’s recent post on empowering students was quite similar to a discussion we had at our Administrative Council Meeting last week surrounding Ted Dintersmith’s book What School Could Be.  Chapter five…

Read More More On Not Stepping In

I had a fantastic opportunity to do a student podcast recently, and although the students were there to ask me questions, I took a lot of time to ask them about their own experiences in school. Honestly, I would rather hear from them and their perspectives than I would talk so I tried to get … [Read more…]

Read More The Importance of Not Stepping In

I received this question and image from David Voves today regarding a passage from “The Innovator’s Mindset“: “Reading today and with personalized pd, I always question what I have in orange. Wondering if you could give me insight?” “Personalized Learning” for educators is something that is gaining more traction in education, and rightfully so.  If … [Read more…]

Read More Connecting Personalized Professional Learning to a Bigger Purpose

I’m known for the quote above, and there are two ways that it has helped me frame “change” in a positive context. Some change will come your way, and you need to see solutions where most will see obstacles. I heard this advice; you can “go” through it or “grow” through it. The most important … [Read more…]

Read More Two Positive Ways to Look at Change

I have shared the “8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” for several years, and the one characteristic that seems to get the least attention and is the least “flashy” for many people is the ability to be “observant.” The more I think about it; this ability is becoming more critical in our world than ever. … [Read more…]

Read More 4 Tips for Becoming More Observant in a World Full of Noise

Shouldn’t teaching be a creative profession? In my mind, most every profession should have opportunities for creativity. I think humans are made to be creative. And if we don’t have the chance to use those abilities, we are mostly going through the motions. We’re merely “doing” or “implementing” without much opportunity to use our unique gifts or strengths.

I’m referring to creativity here in the broadest sense. It’s not just artistic creativity, although that’s an important kind for sure. I’m talking about the ability to have ideas, initiate plans, and solve complex problems. Much creativity is needed for these types of activities.

So are you competent and creative? Having both. That’s probably the best scenario. Being competent is knowing your stuff. It’s being well-trained. It’s having knowledge and expertise and maybe experience too.

But being creative is the ability to use what’s available in novel and interesting ways. It’s the ability to meet the demands of your current situation and add tremendous value because of your unique gifts and abilities. Being an expert is great, but it has its limitations. How are you leveraging your expertise to create the greatest impact? That’s where creativity comes in.

I think we’ve valued competence to the extent in education that it’s placed limits on what we’re able to accomplish. When we simply double-down on past practices and past outcomes, we’re not thinking in interesting ways. We push for more of the same and pile on greater accountability and less freedom for good measure. 

The world is changing and the skills needed to be successful are changing too. When we fail to adapt our practices to current and future contexts students will face, we are failing to help them adapt. We must adapt if we want students to also have the ability to adapt and meet challenges. We need creative schools. We need adaptable schools.

Recently, LinkedIn published a list of the top in-demand soft and hard skills of 2019. Creativity was at the top of the list for soft skills. That’s right, creativity was number one. It’s clear the global economy continues to shift from an industrial world to a world of innovation. Ideas are increasingly important. Creativity is increasingly important.

So back to the original question, are you competent and creative? Does your school encourage you to be both? Or, does it limit your ability to be creative? Do you feel boxed in? 

Every organization has some limits. But limits don’t have to result in the end of creativity. It’s sad when schools create structures and expectations that crush creativity. But it’s equally sad when educators fail to use their creativity as best they can in the current situation, whatever it is. 

Even if you feel limited in your ability to use your creativity, use it to the fullest extent you can. You can still be creative. You may wish you had more freedom and flexibility in your work, but you can still create within your current situation.

Seek out others who are interested in finding ways to be creative too. You’ll be a happier, more successful, and stronger overall as an educator if you’re using your creative abilities as best you can.

How are you taking your creativity to new levels? When you’re creative in your work, do you see better results and enjoy greater fulfillment? Leave a comment below. Or, share on Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.

Read More Are You Competent and Creative?

The comment below is one I received from a teacher on the “Innovator’s Instagram Book Study” going on right now: For some reason, I burst into tears. To know someone…

Read More Master Teacher, Master Learner

The comment below is one I received from a teacher on the “Innovator’s Instagram Book Study” going on right now: For some reason, I burst into tears. To know someone has been in the profession for 37 years and is still pushing themselves to grow is a testament to so many great educators who do … [Read more…]

Read More Master Teacher, Master Learner