Today I had a eureka moment in my day job. For those that don’t know me, I am Deputy Head of a small independent school. We specialise in young people who can’t access mainstream school. They have a mix of learning needs and behaviour that challenges.
Yes, it’s challenging and yes I love it.
These young people have a unique outlook on life, even if their home life is poor. Not only that, but I have lost count of how many writing ideas they have provided me.
Today though the unexpected happened, our English teacher phoned in sick. Anyone who works in education knows a sick teacher is never unexpected. What however was unexpected, was the fact that she was teaching creative writing and I was to cover.
Until this point, I have never been able to combine the day job with my side hustle. Most of my students don’t know what my side hustle is, so it was an unusual situation.
I started the lesson teaching the structure of a short story. We looked at themes of stories, scene setting and character development.
My enthusiasm for the subject, meant the students engaged.
This is not a group of young people who engage. If they don’t like a subject they vote with their feet, quite literally, up and out.
We then went on to talk about killer first sentences. I gave the students a few examples that they loved.
Finally, we finished the lesson using a word prompt to write a short story around.
Young people who hardly ever pick up a pen started writing. When I read their stories back, they were all brilliant. They also all contained a killer first line. It was a proud moment.
The icing on the cake was when I shared one of my stories with the students. It was a flash fiction piece I wrote a while ago around the same writing prompt. Thank you, The Weekly Knob.
The students then all smiled and told me what a good story it was and how much they enjoyed it. High praise indeed. Here is the story.
This small feedback was better than any clap score.
I might actually be good at this.
My confidence in my day job has always been high. I know I’m good at what I do with these young people. Now my day job has given me confidence in my side hustle.