Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect? This is a common occurrence where the most confident people are not the experts, but the ones with only a slight understanding about a given topic. Psychologists believe this happens because these overly-confident novices do not realize the depth of the subject they, in actuality, know very little about. True experts know they always have more to learn. I think the Dunning-Kruger Effect essentially summarizes a fair part of my 20’s! Perhaps it is because I am older and (hopefully) wiser, or because I didn’t start college until I was 33, but I feel there is always more to learn about the world and the people in it.

I am entering into the education workforce from a lengthy background as a performing artist. In the past, I have made my living from playing violin, as a dancer, actor, director, and choreographer. When my life shifted to no longer revolve around show business, I experienced a crisis of self-identification. Who am I if my occupation on my taxes is no longer “artist”? It became critical to reconsider my understanding of creativity. Creativity isn’t limited to fine arts or performing arts. Creativity can be an essay on Beowulf, or approaching a math problem in a new way, or finding a more efficient way to load the dishwasher. In my new career as a student and soon-to-be educator, I see the planning, execution, and problem solving that occurs in a classroom as an extreme exercise in creativity and flexibility.

Unless something remarkably surprising happens, in a year’s time, I will be preparing to begin my first year as an English Language Arts teacher. I’m looking forward to helping my future students improve their skills in communication, particularly through the written word. Writing is a wonderful* way to express one’s ideas because of the opportunity one has to carefully consider their words and to revise. In speech, once the words are out, there is no retrieving them! I half-joke that I am much smarter on paper than I appear in person, but I think that might be accurate for many people. I’m looking forward to seeing my future students grow in their abilities to express their inner worlds, especially in writing.

*Yes, I used the word “wonderful.” It may seem hyperbolic, but have you considered the enormity of what writing is? Arrangements of dashes, swoops, and dots on a page or a screen share the electric impulses that are shooting about in my brain with anyone who views and interprets them, and this can and likely will outlast my life!

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Niki Fayne
July 17, 2022 9:32 pm

Emily: When I read and listen to your narrative, I am struck by your energy, enthusiasm, and maturity. I look forward to working with you this year.

July 15, 2022 4:28 pm

Dear Emily:

I am delighted by your bio, “A New Creation,” because you explain your perspective on what defines creativity while sharing with the community more about who you are. I appreciate your willingness to explore the depths of “creativity” and your eagerness to guide your future learners to develop flexible thinking!

One part of your bio that stands out for me is when you introduce readers to the Dunning-Kruger Effect. You hooked me immediately because I had no idea what it was! After hearing your description (and digging into my own personal research to learn more), I thought of the saying, “Nobody knows everything about anything!” It is a phrase I share with my learners often. While it’s great to recognize our level of expertise for academic, content, and research purposes, it is especially significant when thinking and reflecting about our own personal growth. Thank you for that reminder!

Another part that I enjoyed is when you state, “Creativity can be an essay on Beowulf, or approaching a math problem in a new way, or finding a more efficient way to load the dishwasher.” This stood out to me because people are often quick to say, “I’m not creative!” When we take the time to dive deeper into what creativity really is and build our understanding of the connections between problem solving and creativity, we expand and innovate our thinking. It was inspiring to hear your story of evolution around “creativity.”

Your thoughts on creativity remind me of some of the important concepts that author Peter Reyolds offers in his picture books. He crafts lovely stories about young people who discover more about themselves and the world. One time I read an interview that Peter gave with Matt and Laura Grundler from the Institute for Arts Integration and Steam. In this interview titled, Creating the Future with Peter Reyolds, Peter states, “Some of us are really good with words, and we’re okay with jumping on stage and sharing loudly, and some people are very, very quiet. I’m fascinated with the private wonderful worlds that children have, and adults too, there’s a lot going on inside those heads. That’s why creative teachers know how to take a peek inside, and gently invite kids to say what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what they’re dreaming.” This part reminded me of you when you said, “I’m looking forward to seeing my future students grow in their abilities to express their inner worlds, especially in writing.” You should check out the interview because it feels like you have similar ideas and passions as him.

Thanks for your bio! I look forward to seeing what you make next!


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