I never wanted to teach a creative writing class. When my principal told me I’d be teaching two sections of Creative Writing, I was secretly horrified. All I could imagine was the mountain of work to grade, the new material to create, and my biggest fear–overly emo poetry. Now that my first Creative Writing class is coming to a close, I find myself dreading the end. My Creative Writing class has become my favorite class of the day–something that completely shocks me. This post will explain why you should teach a creative writing class of your very own.
Reason #1 Why You Should Teach a Creative Writing Class: No One Cares What You Do
Ok, this sounds bad.
Your school may be different, but my Creative Writing course is an elective credit, not an English one. I’ve noticed that no one really pays attention to this class. There are no district mandates, no required curriculum, no special administration evaluations.
I have complete freedom.
If you want to play word games one day and then spend the next devoted to complex comma rules, you can.
If you don’t feel like rolling out a whole new lesson, or your students are struggling with a writing project, you can take the extra time to review or work on existing projects.
You don’t need to feel guilty for not steamrolling through content. Sometimes I ask my students what they want to do or what they need help with and then we do that–instant differentiation.
Creative Writing might be the only class in which an English teacher can just teach without the pressure of standardized tests or college prep.
Reason #2 Why You Should Teach a Creative Writing Class: Relationships
Aside from curricular freedom, teacher-student relationships are another huge benefit. When you teach a creative writing class, you get to see a student’s creative side and they get to see yours.
Creative Writing allows you to see a whole different side to your students.
I have a student who is in both my English and Creative Writing courses.
In English, he’s quiet, diligent, and frequently uses run-on sentences. In Creative Writing, however, he doesn’t just do the work–he creates his own passion projects, taking time to write romantic love poems to his girlfriend, or trying to find the words to explain what it’s like living with bipolar disorder.
Without his poetry, I wouldn’t know about his passions or internal struggles.
The amount of time put aside to be creative also means more time to just talk to students about their interests.
I find myself embracing my silly side (not something I’m known for) as the students and I grasp together for just the right descriptions.
Every time my students write, I learn–about their devotion to their mothers, their love for all things creepy, or even the fact that they’d rather be playing basketball.
Reason #3 Why You Should Teach a Creative Writing Class: You Can Actually Have Fun!
I find myself smiling a lot more in my Creative Writing class than any other.
Those relationships are a big driver of happiness, but we also don’t have to take ourselves quite so seriously. Creative Writing is just playing with language.
You and your student can have so much fun together!
Here are some of my favorite and most fun activities:
- Figurative Language Tasting FREEBIE: This is everyone’s favorite day in Creative Writing! We taste different snacks and use our figurative language skills to try and describe the flavors of each. Yum!
- Black Out and Found Poetry: Students get to use their hands while stretching their brains. In these two activities, students must manipulate others’ words to create new poetry.
- Writing Using Mentor Poems: This link will take you to all of my Poem of the Week bell ringers. Each Poem of the Week activity guides students through analyzing a poem before instructing them to write their own based on the anchor text. You’ll get such a variety of submissions and students will be pushed to try new things! (You can read more about this particular resource here.)
Creative Writing classes also spark excellent conversations
After our journaling session every day, we share out. I get to ask questions and pose add-on ideas. We laugh a lot. I develop inside jokes with students I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise.
And if the students don’t work? If they don’t get their writing done? I have the time to talk to them: I can ask them why they’re not progressing without feeling like the whole world will come to an end if we don’t finish the comma packet that hour.
In a creative writing class, you have more freedom to just sit and talk with a student who’s having a bad day. You have the time to make a plan together to succeed tomorrow.
With Creative Writing, if everyone is enjoying an activity, we can do it all week. We can write odes all week if they’re enjoying it. If my mini-lesson is flopping, I can summarize the main idea and let them get back to writing–that’s where the magic is, after all.
When they write, I can write.
When I was told to teach a creative writing class, I was afraid of the workload and disengaged students.
However, I’m ending the class having enjoyed myself, with deeper student relationships, and with a little bit of new writing myself.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done any writing just for the joy of it.
Not sure where to start with your new Creative Writing class? Try my FREE lesson and activity: the “I Am” Poem. This is a great getting-to-know-you activity, back-to-school lesson, or simple introduction to writing!