Also an English teacher, I am very impressed with my students´ short stories that they have been working on in the genre-writing/creative writing part of their curriculum.
Some tips that I share with them are:
1.Always read your work out loud to yourself so that you can hear and catch your own mistakes, especially when it comes to sentence structure.
2.Always write a story that you, yourself, would like to read, because when it comes to editing, you will be reading it over and over, and over again.
3.Tips on battling writer´s block/when you have trouble beginning:
-Create an outline according to the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and
-Free-write: Just write whatever comes to mind.
-Analyze the characters and events of your own life, it may inspire you to create a
similar fictitious character or event.