Creativity in Teaching...

Alright, y'all... I gotta be honest with you! I am W.O.R.N. out this week!! My kiddos seemed to have taken several steps forward in the past couple of weeks, but then the past couple of days, they've gone a little backwards, and I'm so tired :( Anyone else out there experiencing this same kinda slump?? Honeymoon's officially over, I guess!

While I'm being honest, I have to ask you guys...
Are you allowed to use those wonderful, God-given creative genes of yours in your teaching? Not just your management style, but your curriculum, also? Because, this year, I feel so squelched in that area. It breaks my heart to have all of these great ideas {many of which come from your FABULOUS blogs!!} that I know my kiddos would just die for, but I'm unable to use them!!

Instead, I turn the page each day in our basal... and teach it as it's written - with "fidelity." {Sometimes that word makes me shudder a bit...} And now, we have a new pilot/Common Core math curriculum to follow, as well. It's written by the folks at the Board Office, along with a handful of classroom teachers. Once again, I turn the page and teach what's given to us. I did find out this week that we have a bit of flexibility in this math thing, but not as much as I'd like. Thankfully my principal is creative herself, and she encourages us as much as she can!

So... my question to you: How do you do it?!? How do you follow the rules, yet still fulfill that inner desire to be creative and help your kiddos learn as much as you know they can by creating lessons that are tailored to them and their learning styles??

I'm feeling a bit saddened this year... this isn't what I signed up for when I decided in 4th grade to become a wonderful teacher someday.



  1. oh girl I feel for ya! Luckily, my district still lets us teach how we want. Sure we have a basal, but I only teach it 3 days a week for a short time on those days...the rest of the time we do Daily 5. The kids (and I) get bored to tears with the basal. Not instilling a love of reading at all! Wonder if you could do the basal every other day and then something else the other 2? Do you have that flexibility at all? Totally takes away from the professional teacher...I'm sorry you are having to deal with that!!

    Gena @ tekyteach.blogspot.com

  2. I am in the same boat! Direct Instruction and that's it :( It's so sad that we can't be creative, if I am teaching the standards and can prove my kids know the information then I don't understand the push to "standardize" everything - kids are not standardized they are each different and different classes learn in different ways. I am also feeling saddened about this change along with the new laws about teacher accountability and loss of benefits in our state where the legislators think we are over paid and given too much freedom. I hope they understand what they are doing because all their changes are not going to draw in better teachers they are going to push people out - after all I owe more in student loans than I make in a two years and have to keep going to college to update a certificate that I'm not really using because I'm just teaching what the book tells me to anyway! It is all very frustrating and definitely doesn't meet the needs of all students!

  3. I'm in that boat too! We are required to follow the lessons day by day and be on a certain page each day. HOWEVER, during my reading time (an hour) I do guided reading groups (just like the basal says), but I don't use the centers they suggest. I make my own! I love being creative with this. And the principal has no problem with this as the focus is on the guided reading groups during that time. Maybe you could do something like this too...

  4. Totally understand where you're coming from and feeling the exact same way. I wish I had answers for you. Hang in there!!!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  5. I am so sad for you...and surprised. I am surprised anytime people tell me that basals are the only way to ensure everyone gets the same thing. Aren't these the people who also say that fair isn't equal. Um, can you say contradiction? I am supposed to teach to the standards, end of story, any way I want. I didn't realize this wasn't the norm. I should remember to feel blessed every day.

  6. Oh yes... the monotony of the basal. We have it too... but I spice it up in writing (keeping the selected genre and activity) by incorporating my own prompts and themes and use MY desired books. Since our reading time (90 min) must be basal... writing falls later in the day to give me that creative flexibility! For guided reading I use the manual as a guideline, but switch in my own activities for some excitement since this falls outside of our reading block as well. In math I added in tubs three times a week as a math extension for 15 min each day. That way the kids can get their heads out of their workbooks and working on skills in a fun way! Best of luck to you and don't give up yet!

  7. My lesson plans reflect what they want to see but when the door shuts--it's just me in there and I teach the way I want to teach and the way I know they can learn. That's not to say I am extremely adept and quickly switching modes if administration comes in but it works.

  8. I feel your pain! I hate when the higher-ups try to make teaching a science when it is clearly an art!! Hang in there - I hope you find something that works for you and gets you excited about teaching again!


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