The Expressive Teacher

Good teaching comes directly from the mind, heart, and spirit of a teacher who is fully alive, engaged, and using all their senses; it is about creative risk-taking. An expressive teacher is one who uses the arts as a tool for awakening creativity, drawing upon sources from within, affirming talents and finding words, movement, sounds or images to illustrate experiences. When “doing art,” something happens that is both inexplicable and touches upon both the inner and outer worlds of the person involved in the act of art making. The expressive teacher discovers and strengthens vocation in both inner and outer world simultaneously by awakening the creative spirit through the arts and reflection. Kincheloe and Steinberg (1998) described teaching creatively in educational terms as “pedagogical magic”, a quality found in teachers who are creative, imaginative, innovative, playful and joyful and for whom the romance of teaching is alive. A teacher navigates several worlds—the inner realm of his/her personal life and the outer worlds of his/her classroom, students, and school.  How to successfully navigate these worlds  in today’s educational climate can be challenging.

As a teacher, I know my inner life is rich and essential to the work I do in the classroom and it is important that I attend to both worlds to remain vital, engaged and awake. Art is much more than artistic expression but holds the potential for a connection with inner wisdom that can provide guidance, soothe emotional pain, and revitalize your well-
being.  This blog is for teachers who want to express and explore their inner life through writing and acts of creative expression with the aim of deepening understanding of their inner and outer worlds through artistic expression. Annie Lamont’s advice to those who want to write (and to that I add create) is this, “write what you would like to come upon, because that’s information from your soul that is very alive and attentive.” This is a community blog, a type of call and response that will allow each of us to access the material to be found inside–the rich inner life of the teacher of all grades, all disciplines and age level. I hope that many of you will join along–sharing words, visual images and poetry.

Join the conversation!

Kincheloe, J & Steinberg, S (1998) Students as researchers: Creating classrooms that matter. London: Falmer Press