I Teach Fifth-Grade Creative Writing And Love It

I Teach Fifth-Grade Creative Writing And Love It

Whoever said “Those who can’t do, teach” has obviously never known the challenge and treasures of teaching!

During my time at UCLA, I have been a member of and then been a board member of the UCLA Writer's Den. Through the organization, I was able to volunteer at a middle school and elementary school in my first year and was eventually able to teach my own fifth-grade class this year.

I started off as a volunteer for a middle school in Watts under a site leader, who eventually became my colleague on the Writer's Den executive board. I later became a regular volunteer at an elementary school located in Westwood and learned the ropes of becoming a creative writing teacher through that site's leader. This year I have had the honor and responsibility of teaching my own class as a site leader, with my own volunteers, and it's one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.

I began the year with the normal amount of trepidation. Besides feeling excited and major Jess-from-New-Girl vibes, I was generally nervous about being the best teacher for my batch of kids. After a year, I can proudly say that I have a class of entirely intelligent, curious, hilarious and meme-tastic (yes, I do mean that) kiddos.

The biggest project that we have every year, with every volunteering site, is writing short stories that are eventually published in a book. All the students write their own stories and then we collect them to put together in anthologies that are given to the students, their schools, and their teachers.

I faced a great deal of challenges throughout this process, including encouraging my students about their abilities and the physical task of editing the books at the end.

Most of my students were excited by the prospect, but some feared that their writing was not up to par, and others did not wish to write at all. However, I figured out how to address different students concerns.

For the students who were afraid to write, I encouraged them to forget about boxes and boundaries and write about whatever they wanted to. For those who did not wish to write, I asked them to deliver a project so that they would be able to look back and know that they accomplished writing an entire story in a published book.

After the amazing year that I have had with my volunteers, hosting teacher, and students, I will miss them dearly. But, I am glad to have this book, which will be published and bounded soon, to remember them all by.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.


"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Being A #GirlBoss Isn't Easy

I enjoy the satisfaction that comes after finishing a project with which I struggled.


I never anticipated college would be as busy as it is. I always thought that I would have plenty of free time in college to party it up and truly enjoy myself. While that time does exist, the majority of my time is spent either in class, doing homework, working (at either of my two jobs), or working on my Weedtube account. I'm one busy #GirlBoss, that's for sure.

I don't find that I have much free time in college, so I try to budget my time wisely. Making sure there is enough time in the day for me to complete everything I need to while having some downtime is difficult! But, it is vital.

Being a college student means managing tons of deadlines all at once, which can be really overwhelming so being well-prepared is key. For me, this means ALWAYS having my planner on me. I write down everything from upcoming assignments to hangouts with my friends to make sure I don't miss anything. I've been making an effort to procrastinate less this term in hopes that the quality of my work improves, as well, in which my planner has been really helpful.

While I kind of wish I had more free time, I do enjoy being busy. I enjoy the satisfaction that comes after finishing a project with which I struggled. I enjoy going from one activity right into the next one and I feel like I'm always juggling a ton of things at once. This term, I'm working at the downtown Theater, while working as the Editor-In-Chief for my Odyssey community and writing articles myself. I'm still going to school full-time and I'm trying to upload weekly videos. I've been busier in past terms, but there truly is something so satisfying about the grind. I can't wait to graduate next year and begin the next step of my life, so until then, I'll continue getting that bread.

let us get that bread

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