Friday Two Cents: You Cannot Manufacture Inspiration



This week I had an epiphany about inspiration.   It started with me working with the students on a holiday production. We had been working for a few weeks with auditions and I had given out the parts to the students. The past two weeks we had started reading the parts and that is when the real drama began.

This year I gave the students a choice to join the holiday production where as in previous years I did not.  Out of a group of 40 grades 3, 4, 5 students a total of 18 joined, 10 girls and 8 boys. The girls were all very motivated as were a few of the boys yet the majority of the boys were not. At every practice for the two weeks I had to constantly remind them to – pay attention, stop talking when the others are reading their lines, to stop hitting each other, etc. The last straw came at a full practice where I noticed that a few boys were talking and fooling around with each other. I wanted to see if they could self regulate themselves and stop when the practice began and then continue. Yet they did not and their behaviour continued for 25 minutes until I final could not hear the other performers say their lines.
I stopped the practice and had a massive discussion about showing respect to their peers. We ended the practice and I was greatly affected by this resent action by the same students showing disrespect to their peers and myself everyday for the two weeks. I took the night to reflect and I came to the decision to either get rid of the five boys who repeatedly showed that perhaps they probably do not care about this performance or quit as director and have someone else take it over. I chose to quit and see if the students would take this as a sign to rethink their actions for the other staff if they wanted to do it.
I with the supervisor in agreement with me, told the students of the consequences of their actions. Do to the repeated disrespectt to their peers by the same 5 students, I would no longer be directing the performance and because of the constant disrespectful actions by the five individuals, the performance was in jeopardy of being cancelled or postponed. We would tell them within the hour after talking to the other staff. We let them go and we observed them to see if the five would take responsibility for their actions. However, we only saw them completely deny any responsibility for their actions during practices.
After some discussion, we as a staff told them that the performance would be cancelled for a Christmas showing yet if they showed improvement in their behaviour we could revisit the idea of doing the performance at a later date during the school year.  
I was talking to a staff member after about this issue and she told me something that truly made me stop and think. She said that she was not inspired to do the performance this year for the first time in over 15 years. I thought about that statement and I too had to say that I was not inspired to do the performance as well. She continued to say that if the supervisors had agreed with my original idea for a play, then maybe I would be more motivated or inspired. That statement made me stop and really think. Would I have been more inspired and thereby inspire the students. It was like an epiphany and the answer I came up with was yes.
Yes, I felt no inspiration for this play that the supervisors agreed to. I felt no personal connection with this play and after two weeks of seeing that the students were not all motivated to do it I decided to not waste my time and theirs.

I found this epiphany truly amazing. You can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, but you cannot manufacture it. In the end inspiration must come from within.  


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