Befriend curiosity and explore what you have a part in creating…

When this theme landed on Friday, I really needed time to think about it. Would it be wrong of me to say that creativity has been zapped out of me as an adult? Curiosity and exploration appears to have been quite sadly and slowly sucked out of me.

Curiosity has unfriended me and I’ve been kept in a box unable to explore anything I’d like to create.

I was once inquisitive and full of many wonderful, creative ideas. My teenage years at college and university as a young adult, enthused me and fed my drive for creativity. I loved the arts, performing, creating wonderful pieces of work…poetry writing, photography, busking, improvisations in the bars…creating things that I enjoyed, fulfilled me and enriched me.

I look back on those years with great fondness and with great sadness.

Fondness at the enjoyment and of the person I was. Fondness of the passion and the energy that surrounded that time in my life. Sadness that it wasn’t maintained, continued and channelled. Sadness that it has become lost.

A Theatre Studies student at Lancaster University, back in the late 1990’s. A dream of becoming an actor, if not, then teaching drama at high school. I lived and breathed my work over those three years, on a course that wasn’t for the feint-hearted. The hours I spent creating, rehearsing, perfecting and performing where heavy going and quite toiling. Filling my days like this, empowered me and I had a dream of making the creative arts my thing. Opportunities arose to work with some wonderful artists…a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival ( sadly not taken) and the skills that I acquired were just amazing. I lived it. So when did it end? Why did it end?

Expectations ended it. Life ended it. Being a responsible grown up ended it. I ended it and teaching stifled any possible comeback. It pains me now. Don’t get me wrong, I see little glimmers of it every now and again, in my teaching. When I get an opportunity to, I think of more creative approaches to my teaching, hopefully allowing the children I teach to express themselves in a way that is more accessible for them. This is something that is totally lost in our curriculum…battered out of us by the current government.

Making sure work is in books, to evidence learning. But what about the learning that can take place without pencil and paper? What about teaching empathy for a mother in Goodnight Mister Tom , who has mental health problems? What about reaching an understanding of loyalty to one’s country in Stormbreaker? How do you teach listening skills in a silent classroom? Using the arts and creative tools to teach life skills, to teach about emotions…to create purpose, is essential for thinking, collaborative work and making our children well-rounded individuals. I follow many excellent practitioners of the creative arts on Twitter and I am in awe of their creative skills. Music, drama, art…seeing how the creative arts bring subjects to life and are woven like a golden thread into lessons is wonderful…but it isn’t the norm. As a teacher, I would love nothing more to be more creative in the classroom, but lets face it- its been killed off by our government and too much emphasis is put on attainment rather than enjoyment. I think that is what has killed the creativity in me.

Being on a rota of skeletal staff for key worker and vulnerable children, means I have had time to work from home. Time to think about any possible future lessons I will teach and to instruct my pupils to do more creative tasks whilst at home. Even more so, now in lock down, I personally have the time to recapture my love of the arts and bring out the creative side of me that has been dormant for so long. I actually write! I read, I write poetry…read it out loud. I listen to and appraise music. I sing. I learn songs. I play the clarinet. I’ve taken to editing the photographs I’ve taken and I’ve actually began to organise them. I draw, I colour, I’m making resources…I bake, I cook. I dance…boy do I dance! I am falling back in love with the things I once loved all those years ago. Even better, I’m focusing my revised passion for the arts into my new business ventures that I begin full time in August. Determined to use all these wonderful things, that bring me joy, into my work surrounding wellbeing and positivity. So thank you to all those inspirational people on twitter who have helped reignite my love of the arts. I’m currently seeking out a good amateur dramatics group to join when normality resumes. I’ve got my passion back and I don’t plan on letting it disappear when we return back to the hum drum existence that robbed me of it all those years ago. So when looking for those silver linings in lock down…this is mine and its positively sparkling!

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