Aurora Sidell joined the tribe a while back and keeps coming back to recharge her creative batteries.  We are so glad to share her passionate energy with you.

What is your current Job Title?

I am a 3rd Grade teacher at a wonderful elementary school in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

How long have you been in this field?

This is the beginning of my 7th year as an elementary school teacher and each year I learn more about the profession and what truly guides education.

Why is creativity important to you?

Creativity is more than important to me…It is vital to for me to tap into my brain, soul, myself. Being creative helps me find an inner peace, self confidence and self awareness that I quickly lose in this fast paced, work and go, world. When I sit down with a project, painting,collage,  piece of jewelry or anything artistic I am brought back to a sharper more mindful state of existing. When I am creative I am a better friend, co worker and teacher.

Creativity with my teaching (my job) is also incredibly important. Students are much more easily reached when their is creativity involved. They are interested and focused on the lesson or ideas at hand. When a child is asked to memorize something like figurative language they will quickly forget a worksheet or quick writing activity. Pair the writing with creativity, a collage, poster or drawing and they have that knowledge ingrained in their brain. It is so fun to watch students color and create while learning and growing.

How do you foster your own creativity?

Fostering ones own creativity can be tricky at times. I was incredibly lucky as a child growing up in an alternative, progressive community surrounded by very creative, conscious people. Even with my roots firmly grounded in the soil of creativity I am constantly looking for ideas, inspiration and communities (in a class or other). I foster my own creativity by looking at other people’s creativity – photos, collages, videos, paintings, crafts and anything that is a product of creativity. It is easy to lose creative focus if you become too distant/distracted/busy. I carry a little sketchbook/journal around with me and on a great day it leaves the depths of my bag. I find that it is best to keep going, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, keep looking and being inspired daily is a must.

How does creativity affect your daily work/job?

Creativity affects my daily work in two ways: First, it makes required curriculum a lot more fun for me and the students. Second, my mood is much more relaxed and I am more enthusiastic when creativity is part of my daily routine in or out of my workplace . They say the teacher dictates the feel/vibe of the classroom and it is true. I owe it to my students to have creativity in my life and to share that enthusiasm for the arts withem. The day is always better when both the students and I feel good about what we have created –  extra bonus when it is aesthetically pleasing.

In what ways do you encourage creativity in others?

Encouraging creativity in others is not done through force or with restrictions. I like to lead through example when comes to encouraging creativity. I share creative projects through social media sites, online groups or classes (like and sharing fun classroom projects/activities with my fellow teachers in the building. I feel strongly about supporting local art programs, local artists and student art shows. I would like to think that a creative vibe is contagious.

In what ways did the Practice Creativity Challenge affect your thinking?

The Practice Creativity Challenge affected my thinking through a creative reset. I was given  inspiration outside my daily creative circle. There is something to be said about the gently timeline of a challenge like this one where a group of creative people are brought together.  My thinking has been expanded and new ideas have been generated. Enthusiasm and inspiration has been continued.

What advice might you give to a friend or colleague who wants to be creative?

I would (and have) suggest a guided creative challenge just like Practice Creativity Challenge or join an online group of artists through social media. There truly is an abundance of creativity at our fingertips when it comes to this digital era and the internet . Find what is pleasing to your senses. Be bold, have fun and explore your creativity. Copy, emulate and really above all just go for it – there is wrong way to be creative!

Aurora Sidell

image courtesy of Aurora Sidell