I often lurk on Twitter most nights just to see what others are tweeting about. Tonight I noticed a new twitter chat about design thinking (#dtk12chat). I'm sure it's not a new chat, but I have never seen this one before. Design thinking is so relevant today as many schools move to becoming 1:1 and implementing PBL into the curriculum. We have to be so intentional about how we spark creativity in our students. I think the biggest and most difficult obstacle with this is LETTING GO of control. Students have to have more freedom and voice when it comes to creating/designing. They need to be able to collaborate with their peers without having to ask permission. Classrooms can no longer have rows of desks and be so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. We HAVE to inspire innovators, problem solvers, collaborators, students that never give up and students that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty to figure something out. As I was following this hashtag, I noticed a tweet from Bethany Hill. If you don't follow her, you need to (@bethhill2829). When prompted to describe what it's like when you find your creative sweet spot, she said, "My brain will NOT stop, no matter how exhausted I am, and I have to talk to someone to get it all out. I also blog." First of all, props to Beth for being so open and honest. When I've admitted this same thing, people sometimes look at this as a weakness. They have told me, "You have to learn how to turn it off, Ashley!" No. I don't think I do. When you are passionate about what you do, you shouldn't have to apologize for it. It's not a weakness. It just means you truly care! I sometimes think of my most creative ideas driving home from work, late at night, right before bed, in the shower or first thing in the morning as I'm sipping my coffee. My mind is constantly thinking of ways to improve lessons, the quality of my instruction and solve any problems that may arise. The beauty of this job is that there are always challenges to overcome. But when you do solve a problem, try an idea that finally works or share something with your team that changes everything; there is no better feeling. And at the end of the day when your students say, "It's already time to go?" I know I succeeded in making their time with me worthwhile.
Another question that came up during this chat was, "What role does empathy play in creative expression?" In my previous blog post, I mentioned beginning the book, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. So far, Sinek explained that in the United States Marine Corps, Marine leaders are expected to eat last. This has been a long time tradition that carries into every single task they complete. They make every decision based on what is best for the group (not what is best for the individual). They put other peoples' needs before their own. All of this leads to better morale, culture and most importantly...trust. The next section discussed a company that was bought out by a famous CEO. This CEO actually listened to the employees and decided to give them more freedom. He changed the way these employees were being micro-managed by showing them that he trusted them. And boy did it make a world of difference. He brought empathy to this company which resulted in happier employees = higher productivity/success. Empathy helps us begin to create for a deeper purpose. It helps us think about how what we are creating will help others (our students, our team, our students' parents or even our school). When we have empathy in the forefront, we are driven by the ability to succeed as a WHOLE (not just individually). This drives our creativity by having a deeper purpose. Time to get some shut-eye!