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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Those Who Can't, Teach

The old saying goes, “Those who can’t, teach”. I know that this does apply to some but in my dealings with people, both as a student and a teacher, I find it is not true of the vast majority of teachers. I, myself, try to keep myself firmly rooted in my start as a public speaker. I still get up in front of other people and deliver speeches. I even get involved with speech contests to remind myself that, while I may be good, there are others who are better. And, if I happen to win the contest, it reminds me of the increasing talent that is around me, that many of the others are just as capable as I and I was fortunate to win.

There is a humorous speech contest that will I will be occurring later this week and I will be one of the participants. Without bragging, I like to let my students know that I participate in such things. It helps them understand that for me, this is not just theory based. It helps them understand that for me, I am not just talking, I am participating, I practice what I preach (or at least I try to).

One of the other skills I try to teach public speaking students is evaluations. It is important to know how to evaluate someone. How do you let a person know his/her weakness(es) without insulting the individual or making the person feel bad. Most of the students may well be in a position at some point in the future where they need to deliver criticism to an individual/ If done correctly, it makes the individual better; if not, it can lead to the person being upset, doing a poorer job and possibly even quitting. As a result, they get to evaluate each other in class.

There have been instances, if time allows, where I will practice a speech for the students. That get to see my abilities (whatever they are). They also get to provide feedback. They are learning evaluation skills and I am honing my speech based on what the students have to say; I get to see how it plays to an audience.

I do not do this with every speech and I certainly am careful because the last thing I want to do is intimidate anyone. If done incorrectly, that can happen. If done correctly, however, it can be a huge success.