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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Pants Day

I have not been teaching for as long as a number of my colleagues. I do not teach, nor have I ever taught, full time. As a result, my course load is lighter than full-timers and many professors have taught many more classes than I. Still, I have taught a number of speech classes at this point in my life, and I have heard a number of speeches.

Not surprisingly, certain topics seem to be recurring themes among students. Some of them maybe the same theme but have a twist, but the idea remains the same. For instance, for persuasive speeches, sometimes I have students give speeches on behalf of candidates. Over the past couple of years, I have had students speak out in favor of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. In the past the speeches have been in support of Bill Clinton, Bob Dole and other politicians. Once, I had a student speak in support of himself for a student government position. Still, all these speeches have been in support of political candidates.

This semester has been interesting in that I have heard a number of topics used that students have never discussed before. For instance, I had a student urge us to take part in No Pants Day. No Pants Day includes students not wearing pants, kilts, shorts, skirts or the like. This apparently is a ‘holiday’ that college students have “invented” as a way to show that they do not take themselves too seriously. It is designed to take place during finals week as a sign of relaxing and showing that the students are not going to get too stressed.

I found it intriguing and actually thought back to my own routine when I had to take tests. It was very different but, in a sense, designed to do the same thing. I used to come to class with a cup of coffee and when the test was handed out, I would leave it (or put it) face down and take five minutes to enjoy my cup of coffee. It was my way of telling myself that I was in control of the test and the test was not in control of me. So, perhaps no pants day, if it actually helps students, is not a bad idea.