What with all the excitement over the Woman's Weekly Fiction Workshop, it seems a good time to tell you about the inspiration behind my story 'A School of Thought' which is published in this month's Woman's Weekly Fiction Special.
The story is about a teacher who is annoyed to find she has a student in her class just before the SATS exams. She has forgotten that a long time ago, when she was a student teacher, she was given a hard time by the class teacher. It takes her mother to remind her. At first sight, it might seem to have the dreaded Well Worn Theme but there is a twist at the end of the story. I won't spoil it by telling you what it is in case you want to read it.
Most of you will know that before I became a magazine writer, I was a teacher - first a general class teacher in state schools and then an English teacher in a small private primary school. (It was when this school closed during the recession two years that I decided to try my hand at writing).
When I was a student teacher, I loved my first placement. I had sweet seven year olds and the teacher was warm and welcoming. In the second school however, things could not have been more different. The class teacher made it clear that she didn't want me there and the class of twelve year olds, who were in the last term before they went to secondary school, weren't bothered about working - it was a nightmare.
The part in the story where the teacher shares a joke with one of the pupils at the student's expense is true as is when the main character hears her own student crying in the toilets at break time - the rest is fiction.
When, in time, I had a student in my own class, I remembered my experience and made sure that I was friendly and supportive.