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, March 28, 2008

Peanut Butter And Jelly

Those of us who teach know that students can be confusing and perplexing. I encountered such a situation earlier today.

We have started demonstration speeches in my classes. I have told them numerous times that the topic being discussed has an impact on their grade. I am not looking for anyone to deliver a speech about brain surgery but it should be a topic that is important (A life saving technique, something that will save us money and something that is just fun like performing a magic trick are a few examples I use of topics that are acceptable). I also tell the students they should look to demonstrate something that most people cannot do.

In countless lectures I have stressed that a demonstration speech about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich does not warrant an ‘A’. In fact, under the section “An A Speech,” I include the following: “The topic of the speech must be a "meaty" or important topic. (A demonstration speech on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for example, is not worthy of an ‘A’)”.

I do tell them that if they can convince me in the speech the average person does not know the proper way to make a PB&J sandwich and convince me that it is important they learn the correct way (It will prevent divorce, it will enable them to win the lottery, etc.) then the topic becomes permissible. I do tell them, however, when it comes to making a sandwich I doubt this can be accomplished.

Guess what happened in today’s class? A student (one who has previously complained about grades so I am bracing for another battle) gave a demonstration speech about how to Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It makes me wonder what language I am speaking?