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Compliance vs. Creativity

(12 Rounds)

I happened across a “tweet” about the danger in reinforcing completion and compliance over creativity. Surely, meeting the needs of our students are not front and center when this happens. So, it is important to examine the “why?”

The answer, is not cut and dry; and, there are many reasons we see this in schools today. Is it out of comfort? It is because we’ve convinced ourselves that the way we were taught was good enough for us--and therefore, should be good enough for our kiddos? Is it to reduce the workload? Is it out of frustration and possibly the absence of ideas, or even, the absence of a thriving professional learning community to bounce ideas off of?

I also thought about how non-compliance and compliance can co-exist and look essentially the same in a classroom setting where completion exists over creativity. Compliance can be seen as the allusion of doing what is expected and following guidelines. However, compliance can co-exist with non-compliance when there is lack of buy-in with a shared vision and dedication towards effecting school-wide change.

If a coach, meets a teacher in the compliant “zone,” what questions can he, or she, ask that teacher? One might be, “would you be excited to be a student in your own class?” And, if not, how could you--in your own locus of control, change that? Or you may ask, when you are doing the things that bring you the most satisfaction, the best sense of accomplishment, when you’ve worked hard on something that you’ve done exceedingly well, if you could encapsulate that feeling, let it loose, and permeate your classroom with it, would your classroom look and feel like it was full of creativity or would your classroom embody compliance?

If teachers are aware of their internal compass and are reflective enough, they will arrive at the understanding that although compliance is the minimal requirement to do well in school, in today’s world, those who are merely compliant will not be our idea gatherers, our visionaries, our innovators, our dynamic teachers, our risk-takers, nor our leaders. They will sit in a seat that has been prepared for them instead of creating new seats and new opportunities for others.

In the midst of changing school mandates, state and federal policies, and changing demographics of student populations, the sole reason we, as educators exist in our various spaces is to meet the needs of the students we are there to serve. Students do not come to school to meet us where we are; they come to school so that we can meet them wherever they are and elevate them. We are there to prepare them to possess the skills, knowledge, and disposition they will need to change the world we live in positively and dramatically.

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