Last week I did something I never thought I would be able to do – mainly because I thought I would never have the opportunity, but also because I did not know if I would have the confidence or the knowledge. So when I saw the poster above my heart was in my mouth, but I thought I had better get on with it. My eldest daughter had invited me to to give a talk on creativity to her fellow PGCE students at Bolton University and in a fit of enthusiasm and pride I agreed.
After all I see myself as a very creative person despite the fact that I cannot draw or paint or sing or dance or act. But creativity is a lot of other things besides and that is what I was going to show her colleagues.
But first she said I had to have a PowerPoint. I know. It’s been around a long time in education. And very useful it is too. It’s just that I have very creatively managed to avoid it at all costs. Until now. I had optimistically left myself about a week to prepare. I knew what I wanted to convey but how to be effective? Luckily I have a younger daughter who cast a critical and even more creative eye on my efforts and improved them considerably.
Tickets were sold – I must say I had not expected people to have to pay. Not a lot luckily – and I suppose it does focus the mind on a cold winter’s evening. and the money did go to charity.
This was the programme. When I saw about twenty people clutching it in the lecture hall my heart was in my mouth. But before the talk started I was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of the students. So many of them came to say hallo and hug me before we began. It really did make me feel better. Then, when I began talking about the first slide, I discovered that I really did know what I was talking about – and I just wanted them to be as enthusiastic as me. I was amazed that people took photos of the slides and that they were taking notes. I really wasn’t prepared for that. But then I hadn’t read all the small print. Apparently listening to me could count towards their CPD hours. My goodness.
They listened for about an hour and a half. Even I did not know I could go on so long. But I was in the flow. I had taken my risk and got out of one comfort zone more or less into another. I was practising what I was preaching. What a relief! I didn’t detect any overt or even surreptitious yawning. They asked a lot of questions and even the dean of faculty was quite complimentary in a worried sort of way. I am glad I did not know who she was before I started!
A year ago more or less I vowed I wouldn’t teach again. But after a year as a librarian and now on my gap year I have discovered that I do really miss contact with young people on a daily basis. Talking to these students has given me some of my confidence back – I won’t say I’m ready for anything – but am very open to suggestions!
I tried to upload the actual PowerPoint, but if you want to see it I will send it to you. I realise that I am behaving as if I have discovered America, as the Italians say, but I am truly excited.