I Might Actually Be Good At This

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.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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.

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