8 September 2018

As Told by Teachers - a Free Short Story Anthology Written by English Teachers

I had the great pleasure, this summer, to curate an anthology of short stories written by English teachers throughout the UK.  The aim of the anthology was to present a collection of stories aimed at students working towards their GCSE English Language exam – that is the gold standard of first language general education in England and a qualification which is attempted by most of the population, either at 16 years of age or beyond.
You might wonder why teachers would bother participating in such a project – 43 altogether – when there are so many short stories already available.  Why new ones?  Authors from across the centuries had helped in my teaching delivery – Dickens, Chopin, Dahl, Gaiman, Mansfield and others – but all had something in common with me.  It was entirely unlikely that they had written their stories while keeping in mind assessment objectives and skills descriptors against which they would be judged. 

So the stories in this anthology directly and explicitly relate to the skills that the students of GCSE English have to present in their creative writing piece in the exam.  I knew I would be able to write a few myself but went on to a Facebook page I help run, GCSE English Language, to ask for some assistance.  I was overwhelmed by the response.

Over the course of July and August 2018 I received 50 short stories, all based on the example questions I had created for the anthology.  There were only 12 choices so a number of participants engaged with each example question.  The result was a lovely collection of short stories which I hope will engage students of GCSE English Language for many years to come.  There is, I think, something for everybody in this anthology.
There are stories set in the future, some set in the past.  Others deal with highly sensitive subjects in compassionate ways while others are simply written for the joy of telling a good story.  I must say that there are some I favour over others – I’m a sucker for something that brings a tear to my eye and to do that in 800 words or less takes some doing,

If you would like to download the anthology and the teacher’s notes to accompany it, please go to the TES website.  The resource is free so although you may have to create an account (if you have Facebook you can even use that) you will not pay for anything.