Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My penitence (or T’Shuvah)

Having had a rough class my last session, I decided that my students needed to see me at my best and I hope I came through at the last class session. It helps that the material is amongst some of my favorite. I was talking about organizing the body of a speech and introductions and conclusions.

For the organization part, I start off by giving them a recipe of how to make a dish for dinner. The recipe however is out of order. So, I say something like first do this than that, however before you get here you should also do this. Even before that, do this. Continue by doing that. And it goes on like that.

I asked the students if they would be able to figure out the recipe and they tell me they probably could. I then show the same recipe in chronological order and ask them which one would be easier to follow if they were cooking and which would be quicker (because you do not need to decipher anything). Of course, they tell me the recipe where it is organized chronologically is best. I then not only tell them, but show them that the way you organize a speech (or anything really) is important.

After this part of the lecture, I talk about introductions and here is where I usually am able to have every class member focus on what I say (at least for a short period of time). I tell them I am big on introductions and introductions are important. My next line is something like, “A speech without a good introduction is a lot like sex … … … … … Without foreplay”.

I go on to tell them that it can get the job done and it can even be good, but if they want it to be truly memorable, than it is important. Usually, by this point all eyes are on me and students are amazed that I actually said it. I think it is a great analogy and it makes the point. Most of the semester I will not reference sex. I do try to be politically correct, as much as possible. Certainly I do not want to insult anyone. I think this is another reason why I get their attention, because they feel it is out of character for me.

And, it I did not make it up to them with the lecture, I actually let them go about five minutes early (which is a rarity for me).

Friday, because of the Jewish Holiday, they had the day off from class. Now, it is back to the routine and while I do not feel I “owe” them a good class, certainly I always want them to enjoy it, so it is time to start looking over Monday’s lesson.