I was one of those people that always knew what I wanted to be when I "grew up". I wanted to teach. Asking children, and teenagers what they want to be when they grow up , or what they want to major in when they graduate high school, is a pretty common question. Many people never know the answer, those of us that do, and are luckily enough to have a response that falls onto the list of " acceptable, and safe jobs," seem to have it lucky.
As a child I played school with my neighbors, I was always the teacher, and if they weren't around, I taught pretend students, and helped my mom, an elementary teacher, grade papers. My bedroom, transformed into a classroom, complete with chalk board, white board, and bulletin board, that had a new theme each month.
I was so sure of what I wanted to do, and that I would do it well, that I only applied to one college, no safe/backup school for me. After spending 4 years majoring in Art Education, I was more than ready to be set loose and have a classroom of my own. A few months after graduating I accepted a high school art teaching position, I'd landed my dream job.
The art room is place that is about dreaming, problem solving, taking action, failing, making mistakes and taking action again. There are few right answers, or step by step instructions and there are no multiple choice tests, or textbooks with the right answer in the back.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Professor of Psychology, Chicago University, states why creativity is important,
"Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives ... most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity... [and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. "
It is all too common to hear students and adults, state that they aren't creative, this is untrue, we're all born creative beings. The problem is that we all also go to school, and as Ken Robinson states, " Schools are killing creativity. "
When I started teaching 8 years ago, Ken Robinson's famous TED Talk," How Schools Kill Creativity," didn't exist, nor did Seth Godin's talk , "Stop Stealing our Dreams." I believed in public education, and wholeheartedly felt that I was working for a system that was making a positive impact on students lives.
I no longer hold this belief, and teaching for the public school system is now far from my dream job.
You're invited on the journey of looking behind the veil of the public school system, and learning why someone who was once so passionate and sure about becoming a teacher, has made the decision to walk away.