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, February 9, 2008

Make My Day!

Go Ahead, Make My Day!

One of my student’s actually made my day during yesterday’s class. I like to start off my first (Public Speaking) class session with a quote from the Greek orator and leader Pericles who said, “One who forms a judgment on a topic on any point but cannot explain it, might as well never have thought at all on the subject”.

I ask my students what they think about this quote. Often times many agree and then I started asking questions. Have you ever been discussing a topic with someone and said, “I know what I mean, I just can’t explain it”? Just about everyone in the class nods in agreement, or gives a knowing nod. I continue, “According to Pericles, you should not waste our time or your time by even thinking about it, if that is the case. Now, how do you feel about the comment?”

Usually at this point the debate gets going. Some students, not surprisingly, are timid and I tell them there is no wrong or right answer, this is just how they feel about the quote. I get some interesting feedback from the class and one thing which is said just about every time I use this quote is, by discussing it, it can help you redefine and/or clarify your own thoughts.”

Yesterday one of my students’ entered class and said to me, “I hope your happy,” with a mock edge to her voice.

“Why,” I asked?

She explained that she had been debating this comment with her family all week long. Apparently, when she returned how after class, “What did you do in school today,” came up in conversation. She told her family about the quote and the subsequent discussion.

Following that, her family picked up the debate and kept it going for the week. I was thrilled. It is a great feeling when you can get through to someone and they want to continue talking about the class discussion with other people after that session has come to an end.

Let’s see if I can continue to have such luck. Certainly this one class is made up of opinionated, well thought, respectful individuals, who are willing to talk. At least, that is the early returns on the class. Hopefully I am correct and the discussions will continue to be effective and maybe some other discussions will make it outside the walls of my classroom.