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.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cretures Of Habit

There is a poster that says, “Everything I needed to know, I learned from my dog,” and then it lists a number of things we can learn from the animal. There are actually a number of similar poster to this effect but, as I was walking my dog earlier today, this was the one that came to mind. I realized, that as he exhibited certain mannerisms, I knew what he was going to do. I knew, just by the way he was acting, when he was going to go to the bathroom, when he was going to teethe, when he was going to bark, etc. While I have always known it, by watching the dog it drove home the point that we are creatures of habit. Our habits are often the same as we look to do certain things.

I have actually tried to use this idea when it comes to Public Speaking. Most individuals tense up when they have to speak. I want to turn them into creatures of habit who don’t fear public speaking but rather, enjoy it and even look forward to it.

One thing I do is, on non-speaking days, each student has to get up in front of the class and respond to the question of the day. The idea is, they get so used to this that it makes it easier when they have to stand up and give a graded speech, they have become creatures of habit when it comes to speaking.

With my summer course, it was a little more difficult as every Thursday they had to speak, starting from the second day of class. They only had a few times, five to be exact, to speak in the non-graded situation. Repetition is important when trying to develop a pattern, a habit. I did not have as much time as I would have liked. I do think it helped and I am glad I still did it. Still, we have to role with the punches life throws, or in this case that the class threw and I simply did it as best I could. No regrets, helpful, but not as effective as I would have liked it to have been.

That actually probably sums up my experience teaching a summer class.