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The Importance of Creation

I used to write poetry.Т  It provided something in my life during college that no other hobby, interest or career path has filled since.Т  However, in my early 20s, I ran out of things to say.Т  The inspiration to write was gone.Т  When I tried, my themes were clichУЉ and my figurative language was uninspired.Т  Every word on paper for poetic purposes seemed fruitless.

It was a loss in my life that I didnт€™t fully recognize. When I felt a need for intellectual stimulation, I consumed instead; I read, listened, and viewed media of all types.Т  I utilized teaching as a creative outlet, and for a time, it seemed enough.

However, this year more than ever, I have been asking my students to create something of their own: films, essays, art, and most recently, poetry. With the cooperation of the Pages program, I have pushed my studentsт€™ creative boundaries and asked them to do more than observe the world and critique it; Iт€™ve asked them to add something of themselves to it.Т  Iт€™ve asked them to publish.Т  Iт€™ve asked them to share their art.

At some point in the process, I realized I was expecting something of my students I could no longer do myself.Т  This bothered me, but I didnт€™t come to a resolution at first.Т  The change in possibility came on slowly.Т  Then, finally, one day while I was out for a run, I knew that when I got home, I would write something.Т  I worked on one poem for the next week.Т  I came back to it over and over.Т  My style was different.Т  My grasp of punctuation and subtlety had developed.Т  But most of all, I was giving voice to something regardless of what it might become.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have written almost every day. This has had an effect of my teaching.Т  I write with my class; it makes a difference.Т  Today, I had a student say he sees punctuation as a clever, poetic tool he is just beginning to recognize.Т  Someone else asked for help coming up with titles, and a peer explained how they read their poem over and over scanning for themes or lines they like before using a thesaurus to look for related ideas from which to work.Т  They talk about their own process.Т  They use words to say new and creative things.Т  They help one another to solve problems.

They speak as writers.

As an educator, I have always sought ways to help my students share their learning and engage with the material in meaningful ways.Т  I feel, however, that what is happening in my classroom now is better than anything I have done before.Т  It is less about just sharing what they know through an assessment; it is more about voicing something within themselves and honing the skills needed to make that perspective the best it can possibly be.

My students and I are engaging in an easily forgotten art in life and education: creation.Т  There is a joy and a value to making something unique, regardless of what that thing might be.Т  I feel fortunate to be able to share this process with my students.

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