Creative Tension

Anne Swayze
Late yesterday afternoon, I caught the tail end of an All Things Considered segment titled "As Districts Reopen For In-Person Learning, What Schools May Look Like Going Forward."
At the end of the four-minute piece, a Superintendent of Schools in Dallas, TX, used the term creative tension to describe how schools across the country and the world have needed to explore different teaching methods for our students. She defined the concept of creative tension to that of a very stretched rubber band and shared her hope that educators would not return to past patterns and teaching methods. Instead, she encouraged the listeners to challenge teachers to continually seek new ways of ensuring a positive learning environment - in person, remote or hybrid - for all of our students.

The use of the term “tension” often conjures up images of struggle, hurt feelings, or a strained experience; however, in this particular case, the term, creative tension highlights the importance of educators to feel empowered and committed to stepping outside of their known teaching style and continue to create educational platforms that reach as many students, in as many ways, as possible. 

Since March 2020, the Greenwood faculty has delivered educational lessons that are creative, unique and have honored our students’ needs. They have adapted lesson plans, fine-tuned delivery methods, and spent countless hours preparing classroom experiences that are engaging, challenging, and supportive. No doubt, our faculty has been on a steep learning curve over the last 12 months - never daunted by the task at hand or dismayed when the best-laid plans were met with obstacles. 

We do not live in a world without tensions - great or small - and we learn to balance those feelings of being stretched with the exhilaration of a triumphant moment, a day in the classroom when everything clicks and your students are fully engaged. So, the Greenwood faculty will continue to honor our longstanding mission of teaching boys with learning style challenges. We will do so with an updated lens on approach, adaptability, and the recognition that an educational experience that embraces the concept of creative tension will translate into a more robust educational experience. 

And, in just a few short days, we will return to campus following spring break and welcome back our students. Spring term will begin, and with it, the firmly held belief that the country is moving in a healthy, forward direction. If there was a Greenwood success story, this past year defines the greatness and positive thinking that has brought us to where we are today. 

Welcome, spring.