Help for A School Writing Club

Help for A School Writing Club

I work as a high school teacher in the “real world.” As part of this, I also run a Young Writers Club. Its a great opportunity to promote reading and writing, and try to offer something a little different from the normal line up of clubs available at our high school. We don’t really have a literary magazine anymore, and Yearbook is a class, not a club. 

But there are some problems that have arisen in the last two years. The club is only two years old – and I teach in a tiny school. There’s less than 400 kids in the 9-12 high school. After school activities are dominated by sports, and we do not run activity buses. Students will always choose their sports over a club. And if they don’t have a ride, they won’t stay. 

I spent six months last year organizing, getting funding for, and promoting a literary festival that the club would host and the general community would be invited to attend. We had the funds, the authors, the workshops, but, alas, no interest. Not a single student or community member locally, or in any of the areas around us where I’d advertised, signed up or showed any real interest. So we had to cancel.

This year I’ve tried to set up two Skype author sessions during school, along with doing the NANOWRIMO Young Writers Program and other activities. They participated in NANOWRIMO, but when I set up our own “Night of Writing Dangerously,” only two students turned in a form. It had to be cancelled. Same thing happened for the author chats. Once they learned it was Skype, their interest dimmed, and I had to cancel due to lack of interest.

I’m at a loss. I’m frustrated, because there are a few really awesome students who really want to try. They are involved in many things, and that has prevented their participation in most things. But I find the general lack of interest of the students to be the most discouraging thing.

I guess I’m looking for help. Suggestions of any kind to attract the students to try. To want to stay after school. I’ve had a few tell me they write, but they just don’t want to stay after. I need an incentive (and even that may not be enough). I don’t want to give up on this completely, but I’m very frustrated. The only thing I can come up with is an author-student mentor program, but the students have to be committed, and I’m not sure that mine are.

I wanted suggestions, but reading over this, I’m not sure that anything can save a foundering ship. So thanks for letting me vent, and I’m very open to suggestions if you have any! At the very least, encourage those young writers and readers in your life. 

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