While it’s not a part of their job description, nor was it a requirement for their hiring, every art teacher at my school is a practicing artist. Each pursues his or her own distinctive expressive media—photography, pottery, mixed media, oil paints, lithograph prints. Routinely, they bring their own thought process and fresh insights into the classroom with their students. They model creativity. Students learn in partnership about asking questions, choosing a path through a project, taking chances from seeing their teachers personal successes and failures (sharing failures is key!).
In modeling our own creative process we powerfully model for our students the rewards of approaching their lives with joyful wonder, the resilience to fail, the agency to seek their own solutions. The increased creativity in faculty and in students becomes the measure of successful professional development within our schools.