Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Day in the Life

So, I feel like I should share some of what I'm teaching my high school students.  I teach Creative Writing to English 12 students for the first semester this year.  It's my first time teaching Creative Writing at this school, but I'm having a great time with it.  We started with plot drive stories and talked about letting the conflicts take the front stage.  They really enjoyed writing ghost stories and urban legends for that one. One kid's story was so good, it freaked me out (home alone) and I had to leave.  I told him he could be the next Stephen King - we shall see.

This week, I read 50 character driven stories in a week.  Some of them were amazing, but others read like newspaper articles.  I am trying to get across to my students that the dialogue must read like it's coming from a real person.  I'm also amazed at how many times I say "show don't tell" in class.  I don't think I ever really understood that until now.  It's funny how that happens.  I didn't understand grammar either until I had to teach it.  Anyway, it's been a fantastic experience. 

Next week, we start researching submissions.  Part of my class requirement is to submit a short story for publication.  When I reminded them of this a few days ago, a student said to me, "Why would they take us seriously?  They don't take you seriously and you're an adult.  We're just a bunch of kids." Before I address this, these "kids" are 18 and eligible for publication, so they're adults too.  Now back to serious comment.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and felt my face burn red with fury before I took a deep breath to calm down.  I then reminded her that with short stories, I have been published.  I may not have an agent for a novel, but that takes time and the right fit.  I'm also going to epublish (which I know is self-publishing) one novel, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up on getting an agent.  I felt like a fraud for a moment standing before a group of kids teaching them how to be "writers" when one called me out as being a failure.  I think this student may have used the word fail in the comment as well, but I think I may have blocked that tidbit. It hurt. I will add, though, that this student apologized afterward reassuring me that it wasn't meant to sound mean.  Ok.

Anyway, back to class. After break, we are going to discuss setting and then we jump into theme.  We're going to write, illustrate, and bind children's books which we are going to read to six schools of kindergartners. I'm so excited, I may write one too.  We have over 350 kindergartners coming to us over a course of five days and will be putting the illustrations on a giant screen behind the author for all kids to see while listening to the story.  It's soooo exciting. 

So this is what I do with my days.  I'm a teacher two periods a day of Creative Writing.  (The other classes are English as well, but literature based, so not really applicable at all to this post.) :)

I hope you all have a wonderful night/day/week/etc. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Glad the student appoligized. And that project sounds fun! Hope you can share some of them with us. Or at least yours!