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Diamond kites
kites courtesy of Big Stock Photo
Stav Papadopoulos : Creative Teachers Can Fly High

Creative Teachers Can Fly High

By Stav Papadopoulos

“A creative spirit is to be acknowledged, celebrated and spurred on to reach greater heights.”

I like to imagine teachers are like kites, whose ‘spirit’ only comes alive when they fly. With the wind lifting them up in the air, they form an array of colorful kites swaying, thrusting, nose diving and soaring again as high as they can to touch the sky.

Kites flying

I open my arms and welcome them! During the Creative Teaching Seminars I offer, I become one with the budding new teacher, the inspired teacher, the caring teacher, the one who is at a loss. In our quest to personal and professional growth through creativity, the sky is the limit.

Let creativity go higher

It is sheer delight to work with and offer guidance to truly creative minds, especially if they are new to teaching. The thrill is in watching them when they take off and surprise you with their extraordinary ideas. The most imaginative lessons and propositions start coming from the colleagues you least expected. Before long, things are happening, new approaches are being adopted and even those who were indifferent are now taking notice and joining in the frenzy. The spirit of creativity spreads quickly among teachers and students and the results are spectacular. Teachers mature and gain confidence in their abilities and students move forward through engaging learning experiences.

Get teachers going, thinking, imagining, and daring!

A creative spirit is to be acknowledged, celebrated and spurred on to reach greater heights. My eyes just light up the moment a teaching talent transpires. The sincere interest in their students, their incredibly good ideas for lessons and projects fascinate me and the enthusiasm with which they approach their role fills me with hope and admiration as well.

Yet, it is a revelation when I realize the hidden potential in teachers and getting them to realize it and find the confidence to unleash it that is a real challenge. In some cases, it is just a matter of rekindling the passion they once had for their craft and there are also those who have only scratched the surface of their creative side but hesitate to dig deeper.

It is towards them that I feel a greater sense of responsibility. I want to reach out to them, to invite them in and to help them explore the realm of creativity and experience its liberating and empowering effects.

Tactics in Training Teachers to be Creative

How can we help teachers develop a creative spirit? Here are some of my tactics I’ve developed over time, through my studies and experience.

  • I make it a point to get to know all my fellow teachers and ask them about their studies, experiences and their passions. I share my experiences as well and invite them to join me in activities such as the reading club, enlist their help in a volunteer program or give them my tried-and-tested classroom time-saving techniques.
  • When I am planning something, I ask other teachers for their input and when I present a topic I make sure I get feedback from them. I even prepare a questionnaire at times and draw useful conclusions regarding all of us and our work.
  • I listen! They more than love to talk about their creative finds. They speak with such excitement about what they have accomplished and what they are planning to do. Some of their ideas are like music to my ears.
  • I make time for them and make all my materials, notes, equipment, available. If need be, I will borrow if I have to so that I can facilitate my colleagues in any creative pursuit, such as in promoting a cause, organizing a display of students work for parents day or setting up for course orientation day.
  • I lead by example but also follow a promising lead when the creative flair of a colleague manifests itself.
  • I applaud their daring initiatives and join forces with them so that I can also get insights into new learning process. I was quite proud of a very young colleague who took over and did wonders with a long-standing tradition that I had established.
  • Getting everyone involved and using the expertise of my fellow teachers rather than take on a whole event on my own makes for the best effects possible. We had the whole school volunteering to research and present topics of cultural interest and then compiled all that learning into a souvenir booklet for all the students to take home.
  • Responding but also extending an invitation to visit another class in order to moderate a class debate, to do a demonstration, to read a story or to share a traveling experience has helped me and I believe all other teachers to get a fresh and different perspective on many issues.
  • I respect all other teachers and their ways and they reciprocate.

Encouraging my fellow teachers to enter the realm of creativity and to partake in the fun and joy it brings to them and their students has been a highly rewarding experience. If I have helped them go up a step higher as teachers, in return, other than valuable knowledge I have earned the truly precious gifts of trust and respect. •

© 2013 Stav Papadopoulos. All rights reserved.

Stav PapadopoulosStav Papadopoulos is a life-long learner and teacher of foreign languages. She conducts creative language teaching workshops, travels for inspiration, and writes e-books and school plays. More »

Updated 1/9/14