Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A jinx on both your classes

I wrote a few weeks ago about the oxymoronic exhortation to be spontaneous.  Closely related is the conundrum of being labeled "creative," a surefire way to create a self-consciousness that rarely co-exists with creativity.  Next semester, I have the opportunity to take all of this to new heights by teaching a class entitled Innovation and Creativity for which I will be "perfect" because I am "so creative."  Oy vey.

Honestly, I like marching to a different drummer, singing my own song, taking the path not traveled, and seeing things from a different perspective.  But the minute you label them as unique or try to teach them to others....well, they kind of become mainstream and defeat the intended purpose of expressing uniqueness.  So, I tend to let others teach it and write about it ("it" being "how to be different") and just do what seems to work for me in any given moment or situation.  Now, however, I'm supposed to teach a group of graduate students how to be "it."  Oh my.

Yes, I love to teach.  Yes, I love a challenge.  Yes, I think it's important to find a unique contribution to the world.   I'm just not sure I know how to teach something I've never stopped to analyze or study and which seems to be nothing more than how I make my way in the world.

I have textbooks and a syllabus from the previous semester, both of which I am devouring in the hope that I will discover some magic formula for teaching something that seems both ineffable and idiosyncratic.  Perhaps it wouldn't be so daunting if I didn't feel the pressure to BE CREATIVE in front of 30 students who assume I know this stuff.   If chaos is in any way linked to creativity, then I'm feelin' real creative about now.  And that real creative feeling is temporarily getting in the way of preparing for both my Spring classes, as I'm having trouble with the focus part of creativity.

I started writing this blog to remind myself how it feels to be the learner; I am considering myself reminded.

1 comment:

  1. Oy vey indeed.

    The best cooks (and teachers) are each alchemists of sorts. They start with a framework, with basic ingredients and with an appreciation if not an understanding of what those ingredients can create. And then they throw in a dash of this and a little of that and wind up with a dish. And sometimes wind up with a disaster and sometimes with magic.

    Watching Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey reminds me first and foremost of why I don't handle sharp implements. I am also reminded that a recipe provides us with a the comfort and reassurance of the end result. We usually don't think beyond the recipe to bend our brains beyond capacity into shapes and forms which may be chaotic and uncomfortable. If, on the other hand, we were handed the ingredients and asked to simply create a dish, as the contestants on the show are often asked to do, the results can boggle the bent out of shape brain. And we learn while being creative.


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