Today I’m so excited to share a guest post from Amber Kane! Amber is a rock star when it comes to understanding creativity, and she applies that to everything, from her scarf business, to teaching high school art, to her new project, The Unstandardized Standard. Amber and I have been getting together to discuss creativity, business, and education, and we’re cooking up some exciting collaborations for 2014. But in the meantime, Amber is launching an amazing class this fall that will help you get a deeper understanding of your creative process. Thanks for sharing, Amber!
I’m one of those people that many others hate. You see, I knew what I wanted to do my entire life, or so I thought. As a child I would play school with my neighbors, and when they weren’t around, or didn’t want to do the homework that I was assigning, I would simply pretend that I had students. My bedroom was decked out with a white board, chalk board, and bulletin board (which I changed each month with a new theme). My teacher training started early.
I went to Messiah College, earned my degree in Art Education, and landed a high school position right after graduation. All seemed to be going as planned.
But that wouldn’t last.
While my love for teaching has done nothing but grown, I’ve realized that I don’t agree with the public school system, and well, they don’t agree with me.
I want to throw standardized tests out the window
I’m not one for following rules that don’t make sense and schools are full of them
And I don’t believe that Algebra is more important than art.
I spent 4 years feeling like I was David fighting Goliath, 1 year giving up and admitting defeat, finally arriving to a year of freedom and focus. Two years ago I received a letter from the administration “kindly” reminding me that art was an elective that could be cut at any time. (This was their way of telling me to stop asking questions and challenging the system.) I was angry, sad, defeated, and wanted to walk away and never look back. And while I had my one-of-a-kind scarf business up and running, I didn’t feel that I was ready to give up the pay check.
I’m not one to give up a fight if it’s one worth fighting. While there is a lot that I want to change about where I work, I fought that battle for 5 years and got nowhere, and when that happens you need to step back and reevaluate. I’ve realized that I can change the system from within only slightly, but I want to make a bigger impact. And that impact needs to happen outside of the system.
I want to pause here and define two words that will make the rest of what I have to say easier to understand.
Creativity: the ability to come up with a new idea that adds value.
Divergent thinking: necessary to be creative, the act of making many connections and solutions to a given problem. Divergent thinking is not directly tied to IQ and is commonly found in people that don’t conform.
It’s likely that you aren’t great at divergent thinking, and honesty, that’s most likely not your fault.
Last week I asked all of my students how many of them spent time imagining and student after student responded that they don’t. I have to admit, this is hard for me to understand, as I”m a stellar daydreamer and imagination rock star, but I’ve taught enough, and asked enough people the question, to realize that it’s true.
While schools make us feel bad for daydreaming, it’s actually an important problem solving skill. Through daydreaming and imaging our minds make new connections, that later solve problems. More specifically our ability to imagine helps us to determine how to share our talents and gifts with the world.
Children have wonderful imaginations, ask any child that you can find what they want to be when they grow up and they have an answer. Then we grow up, decide that our childhood dreams are just that, childish, so we push them away, and go do something that we hate. We forget how to dream, and give up. Had I forgotten how to dream, I would continue for the next 28 years to either be David fighting Goliath, (and never winning), or completely give up. Neither should be options. Instead I spent a lot of time dreaming and began to create solutions, because in my dreams I can make a huge impact by teaching you and your friends, and their friends, how to think and act creatively.
Let’s get started
Registration for The Creative Class Webinar is now open (and it’s free), you don’t need to feel like you have a creative bone in your body to take the class.
Break down the walls, say goodbye to creative block, and hello to making great art on your terms and on your time schedule.
The Creative Class is a 5 week course designed to help you understand what creativity is, how it works, and how to make it work for you.
Whether you’re a maker, teacher, parent, or all 3 this course will provide you with actionable steps to live a more creative life.
Space in the class is limited, so make sure to sign up early.