Monday, December 04, 2006

Like So Many Deer in the Headlights...

My public speaking students got a real treat today in our guest speaker, and I'm relatively certain none of them knew what hit them.

Our guest - we'll call her K - was exactly what I thought she'd be. She was loud and brash and wonderful. She spoke about a wide range of things as she worked around her point about what it takes to become a good public speaker. She talked about how she creates her own speeches, what she's experienced in her role as an elected official, and how important being able to express one's ideas is in every day life. She quoted Plato. She read a speech she delivered to the State Senate about the dangers of MBTE in gasoline. She sang.

Yes, that's right; she SANG. Not ONLY did she sing, she sang a song about sludge. She revealed to us that the sludge song is not the only one she's got in her repertoire, either. She's got songs about nearly every issue she ever supported or opposed during her tenures as Representative and Senator. It was glorious.

I think it was the singing, more than anything else, that stunned my students into glassy-eyed amazement.

I'm glad K sang, though. Though I've done my best to make this class as comfortable and, dare I say it? - fun - as I could, I think that a lot of students still dread the idea of having to speak to people they don't know. K showed an obvious love of what she does. She showed them that any subject can be fun - or, at least, spun a little bit for the purposes of lightening. She revealed that she had butterflies before she came to our class, and gave some insight into how she prepares for speeches that she gives. Most importantly, she wasn't perfect. She meandered a bit, she went off on tangents, she lost her way once or twice. She was exactly what I was hoping she'd be.

The students don't have to do any homework as a result of K's speech; I just wanted them to experience her and, God love her, she came through for me in all her funny, irreverant, loud glory. I sent them home early with the written portion of their exam and stern exhortations to really nail both the written and the practical portion of the final.

Here's hoping they come through!

3 Comments:

Blogger feather said...

Sounds lovely. Dynamic guest speakers are the best.

If you still want to talk about the last post I made, you can email me at feathered @ gmail.

December 04, 2006 4:34 PM  
Blogger kate said...

This sounds wonderful! Your students are lucky to have you...

December 05, 2006 3:45 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

It WAS good, and a nice, low-stress way to round up the semester.

I've had a blast teaching this class. I appreciate the sentiments about my students being lucky to have me, but I feel far more lucky to have THEM. I love this work, and I'm grateful that the stars aligned just perfectly for me to be able to do it.

December 05, 2006 7:00 AM  

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