Breaking Out: When Schools Stifle Creative Teachers

Compliance: the act or process of complying to a desire, demand, proposal, or regimen or to coercion (Webster). I met with a fellow award-winning educator on Monday who was a wonderful teacher with a creative mind in the classroom. She developed lessons on financial literacy for children in grades k-8. She received awards for her work and was well-known throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

This teacher was also a presenter for other teachers who wished to adopt her lessons for use in their classrooms. She had three personal days to use during the school year and would go out and do workshops on those days. For each workshop she was given a $200 stipend for an all day workshop and the conference paid the school district to cover the cost of her sub. The following school year her administrator told her that she would only be able to do the workshops on her personal days if she would turn over the $200 to the school district.

It seems sometimes that school districts are their own worst enemies. That they want to lock their teachers in a room and force them to comply with only what the district wants. This attitude on the part of some districts only serves to force good teachers from the classroom and into other professions where they can exercise their creativity.

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Instead of touting and encouraging their success and creativity they instead stifle it and restrict their staff. 

How can we expect students to bloom, create, and be productive in an atmosphere where staff are only expected to comply with silly regulations?

Ken Robinson speaks about this stifling of creativity in his TED talk entitled “Education’s Death Valley”. If you have 20 minutes listen to it.

My friend has since left teaching and is forging out on her own. She now controls what she does and is paid for what she wants to do. The school district has lost a great educator. I wish her the best.

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