Freelancing Outside of your Specialism

When I finished my English Literature postgraduate degree in 2012, I started teacher training. I thought that this was what I wanted to do as a career. I had done a lot of work with young people in the past and was really excited to get started. I completed the one year PGCE Secondary English course, but became more unsure about teaching as my workload increased.

After a few months of being in my first teaching position in a high school in Stoke-on-Trent, I realised that teaching wasn’t for me. It was a difficult decision to make at the time, as I had invested a lot of time and effort into the training and I was unsure what I was going to do next. However, because teaching is such a demanding profession, it didn’t make sense for me to continue past the first term. I am now very happily working as a freelancer and I don’t regret leaving the teaching profession (I’ve never seriously considered going back). Having a teaching qualification though, does occasionally open up some interesting doors for a freelancer – beyond supply teaching and private tutoring.

Even though I specialise in copywriting and editing as a freelancer, I like to take up the opportunity to do something completely different when an interesting offer presents itself. This week I was given the chance to use my teaching skills to run a creative writing workshop for the Borderlines outreach department at the New Victoria Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This was part of their ‘Hungry4Change’ programme, which enables local people to explore issues relating to food poverty and having access to healthy food in the Stoke-on-Trent area. I helped the workshop’s participants to develop characters that were based upon first person accounts of people that have used food banks in the past or have experienced food poverty. The pieces of writing that everyone produced will be used as part of a drama piece which will be presented at the New Vic Theatre early next month.

It has been great to be part of a project which has enabled me to meet inspiring people from the local community and help to give a voice to the thousands of people in the UK who are currently experiencing food poverty.

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