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The Scariest 50 minutes of my life!

edited October 2011 in - Writing Tales
My daughter's class have been learning about writing for newspapers and magazines and when the headmistress found out that I work as a journalist, she asked if I would come in and talk to the class about what it's like working for different publications and editors - yikes! I've taught adults many times before, but 30 eight-year-olds? I couldn't sleep the night before for worrying about what might go wrong and thought I was going to have a heart attack when faced with 30 small faces staring at me!
Thankfully it all went well. We dealt mainly with 'hooks' and sub-headings and they all came up with some brilliant ideas, but boy, was it the scariest 50 minutes of my life and I have so much admiration for school teachers who have to hold their students' attention for six hours a day, five days a week!
I really enjoyed it, but I don't know whether my nerves will allow me to do it again.


  • Good on yer, Midia! Always a tough proposition - kids are so acutely aware of adults (possible) short-comings & gaffs, and don't alway's know how to hold back, eh?

    Ah, well - it's another good experience gained, eh? ;-)
  • Well done Midia. Especially tough too when it's your daughter's class.
  • Thank you Carol and BLZ. You're right; they smell fear! I knew I'd won the boys over though when one asked me if I'd ever interviewed an alien:)
  • Well done, midia
  • Awwwww, eight year olds are lovely :)

    Well done on surviving 30 of 'em though :)
  • Sounds like it went really well: 30 x 8year olds would be well out of my comfort zone too. You did it, it went well, and it's another experience to chalk up on your writers board. well done midia
  • I taught 7/8 year olds for ten years before I retired. They're a lovely age - but lively! Well done on it all going so well, Midia.
  • If I had a hat, Megrose, I would take it off to you!
  • [quote=midia]I knew I'd won the boys over though when one asked me if I'd ever interviewed an alien[/quote]

  • Oh BRAVE one!
  • [quote=Lou Treleaven]f I'd ever interviewed an alien [/quote]

    Great! Well done.
  • I should imagine the teacher told them to be on their best possible behaviour and children of that age are generally eager to please if they can, what is more they tend to listen more to a stranger than they are to their teacher who they know well. I take my hat off to you. Look at this way, although you said you would not do it again, you have overcome the hurdle and may even find you can do it again,Midia
  • Funny you say that Woll; I'm booked to run a one day writing workshop in February next year called So You Want To Be A Freelance Writer. This time though it's for adults so I'm hoping it's not as nerve wracking as the school children! It's in central Bristol, and is on a Saturday, if anyone is interested just email me and I'll send you the details.
  • My little'un is 7; 8 in November. They've been doing journalism too. I've just told her about your talk and she said she wished they'd had a journalist come in. You could have a sideline for life!
  • Ha! LilyC, I don't think I'll be doing more schools in a great hurry - the kids scare me!
  • Well done, Midia, to have coped with it so well! I bet you had some interesting headlines from the children, as well as good questions. Also, their teacher will benefit from your talk, in getting good and improved homework from the pupils.
  • Oh Midia, surely once you have done one, you are past the worst hurdle of speaking in public. Actually, you must have had a lot of feedback from them which is more probable than adults who are either more critical in a nasty way or they drop off to sleep, thereby, they cannot think of anything to ask. I am not saying your deliverance is turgid but older people are probably more problematic in a different sort of way. If there is a good group leader or creative writing teacher, they will of course brief the students prior to the day of your arrival but it is no way guarenteed whereas a class teacher who is cogniscant of the literary aspect of the National Curriculum, is paid to ensure that the youngsters are fully briefed on what to roughly expect and how to behave. If you have had some success, build on it. I agree that not every school will be perfect but if you are teaching more than one class, the head teacher will play great emphasis on behaviour of those he is in charge of if he is a really good one, head teacher, I mean.
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