Sometime back, I was talking with Debbie when I mentioned the idea of teaching a creative writing class.
I don’t think the comment came as a surprise to Debbie.
I’ve spent my whole life trying new things and overcoming obstacles, why not teach a writing course?
It’s no secret that I went from barley passing English in high school to graduating from one of the top journalism schools in the world 19 years later at the age of 37.
It took me three tries to pass the required 100-question grammar test to get into the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. After hours and hours of tutoring and studying, I did it and I’m thankful for the experience.
In my course, students would be given a subject or topic and would be asked to interview, research and write a story. I might even toss in writing a newspaper story.
I think it would be fun!
It reminds me of the news writing course I was required to take and pass to get into the MU School of Journalism.
I took the course in the summer of 1995.
The professor stepped into the small computer classroom on the second floor of Walter Williams Hall on the MU Campus. After handing out the course syllabus, the instructor told everyone that he gave up his fishing vacation to teach us how to write news stories.
He went on to share tidbits of wisdom on the art of teaching journalism, then offered those of us in the class the option to give up. All we had to do was hand in our syllabus and leave. There could be no notes on our syllabus.
I had already scribbled all over my syllabus, so the option of quitting was out. Plus, I was on the cusp of good things and my goal was to get into the journalism school and I was one course away.
The news writing course that summer took us through life working at a newspaper. One moment we were writing a feature story when a call came in about a fire at the local school. We had to stop what we were doing and piece together a story about the fire from info given to us by the instructor. There was no real fire, just the idea that it happened, like it could at a newspaper. I think I got a B+ on that assignment and had the opportunity to share what I wrote with the class.
During another assignment, we were handed an actual press release from the Indianapolis City Bus Service. The press release mentioned that a number of city bus drivers would receive safe driving honors and awards at the upcoming yearly banquet. It then listed the names of every driver.
We were asked to read through the press release and see if we could find the “real” story. I didn’t find it, but a couple other students did. Two of the drivers had the same last name. After further digging, it was discovered that these two drivers met and married while working for the city bus company. And they were both receiving safe driving awards.
That’s the story!
For years, I’ve been digging through press releases, looking at bulletin boards in grocery stores, community centers, churches and elsewhere for story leads. Nowadays, I dig through Facebook and other social media outlets for news ideas and stories.
I believe my years of experience qualify me to teach a creative writing course.
Should I offer this course, which I would do through an adult learning option at the local community college, my students would write a half dozen stories or papers. Hopefully they would take something from the course to help them become better writers.
Debbie’s first book was the result of entry she wrote some years earlier at a writer’s conference.
I know that I would take something away from teaching the course. Mainly confidence and growth. I will let you know when I get all pulled together.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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