Once upon a time, when I decided to pursue teaching, it was because I thought it would be a steady, albeit slightly unorthodox, creative outlet for me. I entered the teaching program with visions of my own schooling experience, when my teachers would take time out to do arts and crafts with us or teach us skills such as basic sewing that still come in handy to this day.
These were the general classroom teachers, not one of the art specialists, so of course I thought that I could bring that same experience to my own students. I joyfully and patiently jumped through all of the hoops to become a teacher thinking I could unleash my creativity just as soon as I “got there.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly turn out that way, and to make a long story short, the trend while I was teaching was to make every classroom fall into a curriculum lockstep with one another by following scripted lessons. After a few years of no longer fully coming up with my own lessons and working reactively with no time for reflection, I began to feel a little hollow and soon realized I was forgetting how to be creative and how to apply creative thought toward problem-solving. It was difficult coming to terms with feeling I could no longer use such an important part of me in a profession that I thought would be great for me. When I left teaching a couple of years ago, I felt that my new job required a lot of creativity and creative problem-solving and I panicked a bit, at the beginning, feeling that I had become so deficient in that area. At about that time, I came across John Cleese’s talk on creativity:
What he taught me was that I had not lost my creativity, but that I had recently regained the opportunity to practice it. His talk showed me that it was OK to re-explore and trust my creativity, and that the feelings I have when I’m working on a creative solution are completely normal. It was a huge relief, and after some time I was able to tap back into that creative streak of mine and I welcomed it back with open arms.
Who knew John Cleese could be so inspiring?
If you ever, if even for a moment, doubt your innate creativity, watch his talk. You aren’t alone and I promise that you haven’t lost your creativity.