What I Wish

After five weeks, a third of a semester, I have some random observations about my teaching and where my class is at the moment.

When the time comes that I am primarily a teacher and not devoting more than two-thirds of my energy to being a student, I know I want to give more time and attention to responding to student works. The students deserve much better guidance than I have offered this semester. I think my students have always deserved more than I could offer -- a problem every teacher must experience at some point.

During student speeches, I have been listening to the speaker, which means I am not noticing the class. This audience is probably better than most "real" audiences, but certainly not perfect. I should develop a way to both monitor the listeners and evaluate the speaker. As the saying goes, I wish I had eyes in the back of my head, something most parents have I am told.

Other instructors of the same class are doing much more than I am, at least if reports are to be believed. I haven't shown speeches by famous individuals. I fear doing so might scare students and lead them to assume I am grading them against Martin Luther King or Ronald Reagan. Not exactly a fair contest between students and experts. I have not presented PowerPoint tips, nor have I discussed every chapter of the text. In fact, I don't like the text that much but realize there are few texts that would ever help a student prepare for professional speaking situations.

I'm going to do what I can tomorrow to organize and prepare for a much better few weeks. I need students to respect me, but I also need them to learn a lot more than they might realize.


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