As it is finally the weekend, I thought it would be fun to write a poem about how it makes me feel. This week has been particularly taxing and so this weekend couldn’t come quickly enough for me.
The trouble with weekends is that they go by too quickly and I spend a lot of time just getting ready for work, cleaning the house and catching up on lost sleep. I dream about the day when I can work two days a week and have a five day weekend. Maybe my blog will one day allow me to do this. I can but hope.
You know it’s the weekend
When there is no alarm.
When you wake up whenever
And you feel very calm.
You know it’s the weekend
When you sit in your pants.
Watching Netflix TV shows,
Laughing loud at the bants.
You know it’s the weekend
When the weather turns bad.
After sunshine filled work days,
Rain and wind may seem sad.
You know it’s the weekend
When you prep for the week.
When you wash clothes and iron
Monday morning seems bleak.
In A Nutshell
Sometimes it feels like the weekend is just catching up on jobs time and preparation for the new working week time.
Following on from my recent article about how to teach young people to read, I decided to pass on my top tips regarding teaching writing. For me, as a teacher and writer, these two things are very important. Being able to write is a powerful skill which can easily become unappealing if it isn’t taught well.
You may wish to check out my article about encouraging reading too.
Writing is something that not only opens doors, but provides an outlet for worries, dreams and memories.
Creating A Buzz
As with anything, motivation is a big part of the writing process. I was definitely losing interest in writing fiction when I got to Year 10 at school and then a wonderful teacher called Mrs S joined the school and reinvigorated my fascination with composition.
Mrs S was so enthusiastic and knowledgable. She made us feel like her creative team, shared her process of planning creative pieces, acted out scenes from plays excitedly and generally stirred up a buzz in all of us to write fiction.
So if you are a parent wanting to support your child to learn to write or a tutor trying to spark enthusiasm, you need to start by showing that you genuinely care about the written word. The students will then be fascinated by what makes you happy and want a piece of that particular pie.
– Be visible enjoying writing. Whether writing a shopping list, composing a speech or simply jotting down a joke, make sure you are clearly seen doing it. Children will be intrigued by a parent or tutor visibly enjoying writing something down.
– Guide the writing process. Any task is more fun when done collaboratively. So why not write something together. Unpicking the process as you go along, draw them into the magic of writing something.
Writing with a partner is fun. It involves sharing ideas, overcoming challenges together and ending up proud as punch of a piece of work that is the result of a team effort.
– One of the hardest parts of teaching writing is getting started. Don’t be afraid to get the learner off to a good start by feeding them possible routes into a text. So what if you have to provide them with the prompt or initiate the first paragraph? Often a beginning is all that is required to kickstart the unfurling of a work of fiction.
– Make sure that spelling is no object. Writing can be by hand or on a screen. Either way, dictionaries, word banks or spell checks on devices can be utilised to support spellings and speed things along. You as the tutor can encourage them to create a draft without worrying too much about spellings. These things can be fixed later on.
– Demonstrate how you come up with sentences. Make transparent the thought process and let them know that it is OK to make mistakes.
Every author starts with a first draft. They may have completely changed the whole thing by the time they publish a book. Editing is part and parcel of writing successfully.
For me, writing enables me to spout my ideas and thoughts on anything and everything. Nothing beats the feeling of creating a short story or writing a meaningful letter or note.
Hopefully some of the suggestions for teaching writing that I mentioned above will help you to think about the way you encourage writing. The most important thing is generating a love of writing by showing how much passion you have for composition.
I know I am not a famous writer or anything like that but I was over the moon to see people write reviews of my first novella when it came out in 2019. Now that novella is turning four years old and I still cherish it.
Just because I can – I decided to share another short extract from, ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.’ Hopefully it will intrigue you.
From ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.’
I wished he would give it a rest.
‘Dadddd!’ he went on.
It made me wonder why his mum never answered. I was too busy trying to get knots out of Tess’ hair.
‘What’s wrong now?’ I replied anxiously.
Alfie stormed in with a red face and swollen, angry cheeks.
‘I can’t find my football socks anywhere!’ he announced.
‘Try under the bed,’ I said, trying to remain calm and de-escalate his crossness.
‘Ouch,’ squirmed Tess softly, as I caught yet another knot.
She was always so relaxed. She never let anything get to her. She was ten times cooler than Alfie, whose hot-headedness got him into scrapes left, right and centre.
He stormed out again and slammed the door to his room. I winced and hoped that he could find those damn socks, or we would never hear the end of it. The clock was staring at me and reminding me that we hadn’t got much time left. I went to find Michelle.
The distant noise of a bath filling, coupled with an aroma of scented steam made it obvious that she would not be coming this morning. When we woke up this morning she told me that she had had a bad night’s sleep and her headache was back. Women use headaches as excuses to get out of things, but this was not like her! She always liked to be involved in school-related stuff. She loved the banter between mums. Her favourite thing was pricking her ears up and listening intently for any titbits of gossip that she could soak up from the gaggle of parents who would usually surround her on that packed and bustling playground. Maybe this time she was actually feeling a bit sick. Quickly I realised I should attend to this in a sympathetic, understanding way. After all she had cared for me like a private nurse when I had man flu last Christmas.
‘Are you alright?’ I tried, gently.
She turned off the tap to the bath and opened the window slightly to let out some steam.
‘Have fun today. I bet the assembly goes well.’
I could tell she was not feeling very well. She kept holding her head; sort of wiping her brow as she spoke. I had not seen her look like this for a long, long while. Thinking back, I should have realised this was out of the ordinary for her. Instead of prying further, I left her to it, planting a quick kiss on her forehead and then rushing down the stairs.
Alfie and Tess soon followed and we collected our things and burst out into the driveway, where they ran to the car, Alfie calling shotgun as usual to make sure he got to sit in the front passenger seat. I asked if he had kissed his mum and he simply said the bathroom door was shut. Tess went on to say, ‘I hope mummy gets better soon because I want to go swimming later.’
When we got Tess off to class and I had signed Alfie in, I went to find a seat next to someone I barely knew and sent Michelle a text. Quickly I switched off the phone and tucked my coat under my chair. I gave a slight nod to Matt as he rolled in, just in time. The lights came on and that teacher did the introduction. It did not cross my mind that today was going to turn out so black and dismal and full of anger.
Thank you so much for reading this extract from my book. As my novella is now four, I will be finding ways to celebrate with articles and extracts over the summer.
For another book review of mine, have a look at my write up of The Lost Daughter which was a very well written and satisfying novella. Please consider following my blog for more book, film and TV reviews alongside articles about climate change.