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, September 17, 2008

The Race

One of the things I do at the beginning of each semester is I hand out a survey to the entire class. The survey helps me plan for the year. First, I am interested in student likes and dislikes (sports, television, movies, politicians, etc.). This actually helps me help them if any student comes up to me and needs help picking a topic for a speech. I always start with what the individual indicated on this sheet and we sit down and try to come up with a fun topic.

One thing which surprised me this year was finding out how many of my students actually enjoy politics. I confess, I actually enjoy watching conventions, listening to campaign speeches and following the ins and outs of the game. Ironically, I find this much more interesting than government, but I find that interesting as well.

I also am fascinated by different ways in which a topic can be presented. Sometimes there are places where one can get information about a topic that might not be obvious at the offset. For instance, fictitious books are one such source. Obviously, the entire speech should not come from this source, that is not true research. After all, a fictitious book is just that, fiction. Still, there are experts that can be used.

Richard North Patterson has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I have yet to read one of his books that I have not enjoyed. More importantly, I find his books make me think. I am currently re-reading the first Patterson novel that I read, The Race. The book deals with a Republican primary, getting to the convention and the backroom politics and deals that are taking place.

The book is fiction but it is obvious that a good portion of this was written based on things that actually do happen in politics. To use a snippet in the introduction or the conclusion would be effective. A speaker could draw a parallel to a situation in the book and a real life situation. Certainly this book definitely allows for that.

I also highly recommend the book to anyone who has not read it and who enjoys politics. Based on the number of potential political speeches I may hear this semester, I am curious to see if anyone uses this book in a speech.