By Teachers, For Teachers
Being a creative classroom teacher may not be your forte, but it can be. For many teachers, creativity comes naturally, but for others, it does not. However, every single one of you has the potential to be a creative teacher. You have what it takes to think about education differently right inside of you. You have studied around creative colleagues and used your imagination to create engaging lessons and activities for your students. If you want to become a creative educator, then you have to know the habits of the ones who already are. Creative teachers aren’t afraid to take risks. They are open-minded, and use what’s around them to help them create innovative ideas and teaching strategies for their classroom. They are willing to try new teaching strategies and methods and are not afraid of failure. They bounce ideas off of their colleagues and students and are will try anything once. They will step outside of the box and are always up to hear about new ideas. Here are a few more habits and teaching strategies of creative classroom teachers.
Creative teachers do not “Teach to the middle:” They use a variety of different modalities to reach each individual learner. Some creative teachers use the Multiple Intelligence Theory to show students how to learn the same concept, but in different ways. For example, when teaching a specific math concept, the creative teacher will show their students visually, kinesthetically, and linguistically. Other teachers may choose to use the “Student choice” method to reach all students. This is where the student gets the option to choose how they will learn the concept.
Creative teachers know that education is forever evolving, so they stay up-to-date with all of the latest educational news. They do this because they know that how important is it to try new things. Every day, the education world is creating new strategies and methods to better reach all learners. Creative teachers follow these trends to ensure that their students are always learning.
Creative teachers are not just creative in the field of education, they are also creative outside of the classroom. They follow their passions and draw from their interests. They use what motivates and intrigues them and incorporate it into their teaching. For example, a teacher who cooks healthy and exercises a lot may incorporate nutrition into their lessons. Or a teacher who paints in her down time may incorporate art into her lessons.
These types of teachers try and intertwine each subject within each other and show students how they are related to their own lives. They take the content that they are teaching students and make them aware of how it correlates in the real world. They spend time highlighting the relationships between subjects and topics and help their students figure out how they all connect.
Creative teachers have a passion for finding the good in every situation. They do not stress over teaching to the standards, instead they look at the standards and try to find a way for students to be creative within them. They use the standards as a guide to help them create new innovative ways to reach their students. This may mean that they incorporate play, learning centers, or student choice into their curriculum. They will do whatever it takes to be creative instead of stressed when it comes to the ever-changing educational standards.
While creative thinking is not a characteristic that everybody may have, with a little forethought and imagination, you can become a creative teacher -- you just need to know where to find it. Sometimes inspiration and ideas may come out of nowhere, and it is up to you to act upon those moments and integrate those ideas into your daily plans.
Are you a creative teacher? If so, in what way? What teaching strategies do you use? Please share what makes you creative in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.