During the beginning of the school year I had some free time, so I checked out pinterest teaching boards and found SO many awesome ideas, it was actually a little overwhelming. I decided to use one that I found as a creative writing assignment. Creative Writing in itself is difficult to explain to the learners, as using their imaginations and making things up was a hard concept for some [correction: most] of them to understand. The topic was “My Teacher’s Secret Life.” After reading through a number of their assignments, it is clear that most people did not get it, and so now I just have a lot of learners who have written what they have observed about me or what they know about our rules and procedures in class. Lots of nice things at least [one boy wrote that even though I'm very strict he knows I love their class the most, because he sees me smile when they come in haha]! This is my favorite of them - I corrected the English just so it's easier to read:
Ms. Nowlin is a very nice teacher! She gives us English and she also gives us Fun Friday. Ms Nowlin likes reading, and she has her own laptop. She gives girl’s group. I think she likes eating ice-cream! She comes from America and she likes having fun. She likes watching movies and walking! She also wants to go all over the world one day. And she likes exploring and learning new things. She like taking pictures of us or places.
For some reason, at least 4 learners so far who understood the assignment have said that my secret life is being a waitress, because I need more money to feed my children. I don’t know what I really envisioned as the result of this topic, but another one of their answers was definitely not it. Memory is the smartest learner in her class, and this is what she wrote:
“My teacher usually sneak away from school to find her evil friend. My teacher was good before but now she learned to be evil like her friends. She also have a other friend named Lucky, but he is not lucky at all. Mrs. N always follow them every where they go and they sometimes give her drugs and alcohol to drink. One day when she went to visit her friends after school, she was very terrified. They were smoking and drink alcohol and using drugs, then she joined them. Then she drank and later on she was drunk! The next day she went to a private job. She was a drug deliverer. She always acted strange when she was with people in town. So, I decided to find out about her secret life! One afternoon in town, she was so drunk and decided to cause a scene in front of a lot of people. Suddenly she decides to begin a fight with another women, but someone stopped the fight. This is my teacher secret life!”
WHOAH! I did not expect that my secret life would be an alcoholic drug dealer!!!
That was definitely one of the more creative of the pieces. It was also accompanied by a picture of me holding a bottle in front of a shebeen [informal bar]. After I saw her assignment I made more of an effort to tell the other classes to write fun and exciting stories, rather than sad ones, which are easier for the kids to come up with after all the lifeskills kinds of stories they read.