I was actually looking for some examples of journal article citations to share with my students when I came across an article on the concept of creativity. In the article, Sligte, deDreu, and Nijstad (2011) discuss power, hierarchy and creativity. The authors even go on to say that power and creativity can be closely related to stability in life.
I think about how unstable educators' lives are in the final weeks of the school year. Gone is the structure of the school day. At the end of the year, regular bell schedules and class periods give way to standardized testing, modified schedules, field days, yearbook signing parties, and awards assemblies. In addition, time must be spent on completing professional growth goals and performance evaluations.
The toll these final weeks take are not limited to the educator's state of mind. Laundry piles up, grocery lists get longer and longer, and weekends become extensions of the workweek. An even larger part of our existence gets engulfed by the profession we are so passionate about. At the end of the twelve, thirteen, or fourteen-hour frenzied days, there is very little room for creativity. Ironically, this tends to be the time of year we often ask teachers to be the most creative in their teaching and learning.
Have you ever looked at Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" pyramid? Simply Psychology has a article which discusses Maslow in more detail in case you aren't familiar with the pyramid. There is even a picture of the pyramid. Basically, the concept of Maslow's Hierarchy is that you need to satisfy certain basic needs before you are able to even think about more complex things. By the way, according to the picture on the website, and to Sligte, deDreu, and Nijstad (2011), creativity is at the top of the pyramid. No wonder I haven't had the creative juices to blog! I haven't done a great job of meeting my own basic needs recently.
This is the first evening in a LONG while when I have been able to sit down in my favorite chair with my cat in my lap, and write about something that I am passionate about. So, the next time you find yourself discouraged about the work your teachers or students are producing, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Are they truly in a position to be creative? If not, how can you foster that creativity that is so essential to promote good teaching and learning?
Sligte, D. (2011). Power, stability of power, and creativity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, (5), 891-897.