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.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Personality Traits

It is amazing how, after students give their first speech of the semester, I am much better at knowing everyone’s name. The initial speech is a speech about themselves. I tell the students, however, I am not looking for an autobiography of their life. I want to know what makes each person unique, what makes them who they are.

When I first started teaching I had a tough time getting this across. I then noticed that in the textbook I use (adjuncts do not have a say in the matter, we are just told), there is an appendix towards the beginning about the icebreaker. It has great information and I rely on it heavily during the first two class sessions so the students know what I want.

Then, after a couple of semesters, I was sent a copy of the videotape that goes with this (and now CD and DVD). These contain examples of the different types of speeches, all of them student speeches. So, now I show them to the students and we discuss them and the students have a much better time understanding what I want. As my dad used to say, “It is so much easier if you know what you have at your disposal”.

Now, when I hear the students give the speech of introduction, the icebreaker, they discuss something that happened to them during the course of life (such as one student who told us his father died when the student was just two years old). Some students take one item and explain many different things about the personality through the item. For example, one student discussed her charm bracelet and what each charm signified.

It is fascinating that once I hear the speech, I have something tangible to attach to each student. This actually makes it much easier for me to remember names as I will recall each student by something about his or her personality.