Making Meaning of Trust so Creativity Can Ensue

In: Creativity in Educational Research and Practice

Recognizing that teachers are both leaders in their classrooms and colleagues in the school setting, the interplay of trust in the interpersonal professional relationships of teachers with their principals is critical so that creativity can ensue. The rationale for the examination of trust is based on the assumption that trust is a key element in all human relationships and is often taken for granted because it is usually not thought about until trust fails to exist. In previous research, trust has traditionally been considered as a monolithic variable characterized by experiences through relationships within a school. However, my research has revealed that trust is best understood in a combination of two ways. First, trust is a process of holding certain perceptions and anticipating the reliability of the other party, and secondly, trust is a product of accumulated opportunities for interaction between teachers and the principal. Because risk taking, experimentation, and voicing conflicting opinions are essential ingredients for change and because they thrive in a safe, trusting environment, attending to creating such an atmosphere for change is an important first step. How change and trust building will be addressed at a school site depends on such issues as a school’s history, student diversity, staff turnover, relationships among staff members, schedules and logistics, and degree of community support. The role of principal is critical in establishing and maintaining trust. Indeed, the ability to trust in one’s own working environment and to contribute in a trusting and open manner have emerged as important facets of healthy school environments where creativity is not only nurtured, it becomes the norm. Building trust is a complex venture that takes time, focus, nurturing and energy. When it becomes a consistent characteristic of the workplace, however, there is no end to its positive influence.