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Stav Papadopoulos : How Do You Transform Into a Creative Teacher?

How Do You Transform Into a Creative Teacher?

By Stav Papadopoulos

It seems as if creative teachers are in perpetual motion; always moving forward, always quick to adjust to newly established circumstances and forever coming up with fresh and inspiring approaches to tasks. With the autonomy they enjoy and the air of confidence they exude, they leap from one creative activity to the next with amazing ease and speed.  They can at times bring to mind action heroes who readily transform themselves and come to save the day and to teach us all a good lesson.

How do they do it?  It’s not magical powers they possess but the time and effort they put into their craft. It is the passion for their work, a strong desire to explore their scientific field for better understanding and the will to experiment with a number of techniques and see what works best for their students.

While some teachers are natural talents, others need to discover their creative potential.  Teacher training courses aim for professional development and though it is a good place to start it may only scratch the surface of a promising creative teaching talent. You may gain valuable insight into the current practices in teaching but to use them you need to find the creative teacher in you.

How do you go about transforming into a creative teacher?  The first step is to acknowledge the many ways you have already been creative and then follow this short trail before you find your own way out of the woods:

  • Study your own work and your methods.
    Do you prepare your own lesson plans? Any notes? What do you scribble in your teacher’s book? What projects did you work on?  Are there any pictures, tables, models, samples of your work? Work out what and how you could change them for better effect.
  • Think about your class routine.
    Try changing the order with which you carry out your lesson. How resourceful are you? Have you been keeping yourself abreast of new developments that can enhance your teaching?
  • Change your repertoire often.
    There are a lot more stories with meaningful content and a lot of fresh jokes to tell when the occasion arises. Paying attention to what your students are talking about, listening to and raving about is a lead you want to follow.
  • Consider how different
    your students and their needs are. Think about how they feel about assignments and tests. Could you use a fresh approach to testing and assigning papers?  Have you forgotten what it’s like to take a test? Perhaps one of the best ways to find a creative alternative is to take a course, build useful teaching skills and sit for an exam yourself. A teacher development course will more than help you get going.
  • Compare and contrast
    your work to that of others. In what ways is your work better or worse and could a colleague give you some pointers?
  • Since it’s been a while,
    study the history of education in your state or country again. It may help you understand why certain practices are favored over others. While you are at it, why not look up the educators who influenced our professional field and find out how they inspired creativity.
  • Take a real interest in subjects
    you don’t teach and you will remember once again the point at which all of sciences meet and how significant it is to incorporate all of them in our teaching.
  • Partake in a hobby
    and find inspiration for yourself and your teaching. You need to rediscover the joy of creative activity and bring it with you into the classroom next time.

Being involved in all these activities is bound to help you realize there are things you can do to make your lessons more exciting and engaging for your students. Though everyone loves a surprise, it’s not always easy for teachers or students to adjust to abrupt changes. Introduce one item at a time, something different each month and you may even have to wait a whole year before you too can move like lightning. What is important is realizing the need or even better the desire to turn your lessons into sessions of creative and inspiring activity.  

Creative teaching changes you and encourages you to assess and reassess your methods each and every day and to make the necessary adjustments. It prompts you to transform into a much more creative teacher and eagerly explore other fields in the hope of finding fun but also imaginative and effective ways to enrich your students’ knowledge. •

© 2014 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 »