This is not a warm and fuzzy story about my Year 6 teacher who was the best teacher in the world (because she wasn’t!).
Nor is this a story about how I became an overnight writing sensation in Year 6.
This is a story about how I wrote a crappy piece of content and was ridiculed for it, by my teacher, in front of my class.
During the school holidays, we had to write a book review. I chose to write about The Babysitters Club which I was a huge fan of at the time. But unfortunately for me, I didn’t know how much detail I needed to include in the book review.
I wrote a paragraph and drew a picture. I thought that was all I needed to do.
My teacher was checking through everyone’s book reviews. We were quietly working on another task when she suddenly yelled out my full name.
I knew I was in trouble, but I didn’t know why. I was a studious kid, didn’t get into any mischief. What had I done wrong?
Mrs So-and-So threw my book review across the classroom floor and it went sliding down to the other side of the classroom.
She yelled at me that it was rubbish, and how dare I not put any effort into my work. She compared my work to that of another student’s who she said was perfect and why didn’t I write something as good as she had.
I started to cry. I felt embarrassed, hurt, scared. I was 11 years old and was being yelled at by my teacher.
It’s amazing how much of an impact a teacher can have on a student! I reckon I’ll remember this moment until I die.
I wasn’t a strong English student until about Year 10 when I had the most wonderful English teacher, Mrs Underwood. She helped me finally “get” what the creative writing process was about. My essays improved, my creative writing improved, I loved English!
Two different teachers, two different experiences, but this is what I learnt from both:
Quality over quantity
Ok, so my book review was a little on the short side, but short content can still be powerful and effective in the right situation. We need to think about the communication medium and our audience. We can waffle in a blog and end up with a 3000 word essay about rubbish or we could write a 150-word powerful piece that can move our audience to tears.
Writing improves over time
We all write crap when we first start out! If you’re new to blogging for your business, I hate to break it to you but your first published piece won’t be great. Mine wasn’t great either! But we get better with each piece of content. No one ever gets worse.
Nurturing brings out the best in people
If you’re a business coach or a teacher, nurture your students and bring out the best in them. Don’t leave them feeling shit about themselves- this feeling can stick around forever.
One final word- although my Year 6 teacher gave me my worst primary school memory, she also gave me my best primary school memory at our school sports carnival. But that’s another story for another day!