What gets me up in the morning: 'The sense of excitement of where my lessons may go once the creative spark is ignited'

One design teacher explains why knowing that his lessons are adventures waiting to happen gets him up in the morning.

News article image

It's the creative unknown that gets me up in the morning. 

That might sound slightly cryptic, or even enigmatic, but there is a reason that I was drawn towards the creative arts at school, through university and eventually back into the classroom as a teacher.

While I don't want to be accused of disrespecting academic subjects, I always found that history never changed, nor did 2+2 – yet the creative possibilities with just 12 notes, one pencil or two pieces of wood seemed almost endless. 

Although I know that every workday, my school, timetable and colleagues will be the same as they were yesterday, the very nature of creative subjects means that you never know where a lesson will go once the creative spark has been ignited.

What makes me happy? Walking through the music department and hearing a different set of instruments playing a different piece of music. Watching as an art student paints a sculpture that wasn’t there yesterday. Arriving in the design department – my department – with the knowledge that, if taught well, there are unlikely to be any two projects the same.

I grew up playing video games, but not for adrenalin or to chase high scores. I enjoyed solving puzzles, exploring and the sense of discovery; all of which are pretty much the basic ingredients of a design course. Each day, each project and each student is an adventure waiting to happen, with problems to be solved and the possibility of discovering a solution that has never seen before. 

Creative subjects present the perfect opportunity to take creative risks and evaluate the outcomes before applying the lesson learned to the next version. They can attract maverick teachers who push the expectations of the subject and, in doing so, fill their students with a sense of awe and wonder.

So, yes, it’s the unknown that gets me up in the morning, not the safety net of routine and predictability. I would like to think that the same sense of excitement and discovery has at least a few of my students jumping out of bed in the morning, eager to explore their creative side. 

Paul is a teacher in South Yorkshire. He has taught design and technology for 23 years in a range of schools, and writes and illustrates children's books and works as an examiner and moderator of resistant materials for the AQA. 

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you