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 23, 2008


I am always amazed at how difficult it is for students to come up with a topic for a speech. For two speeches I assign the topic (The icebreaker which is a speech of self introduction and the impromptu speech students will have to deliver) for the remaining 5 speeches, the students pick the topic. My one requirement is; it must be something that interests the student, because if a topic is picked that the student finds boring, s/he will not be able to hold the interest of the class (if you can’t hold your interest, how can you hold ours).

A number of students ask me for help coming up with a topic. Despite the fact that we spend time on how to pick a topic during a lecture, I still hear, “I can’t think of anything.”

“What interests you,” I ask.

The response, invariably, is , “Nothing”.

I suggest checking Yahoo or other search engines and seeing what is there. Right now on Yahoo Jennifer Lopez, Tyra Banks and Oscar Predictions are just a few of the top searches. All of those would work as topics for a speech.

When I log on to the internet and look at my home page, one of the top stories includes Heidi Klum looking to help Brittany Spears. A top video is about the Elmo doll that was threatening a child.

Stories about Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain are on Google.

It always seems to me like there is never a shortage of topics, yet to students they seem like they would prefer it if I assign them a topic. I will work with them, discuss things with them but I will not pick a topic for them.