500 Words At A Time: My Classroom Stuff

A lot of my time has been spent in a classroom and while there I have developed some thoughts and behaviors on a few smaller subjects…

To be clear, I have not nor will I ever be the perfect student. That being said, there are something things you (a non-traditional student) could learn from me or learn not to do. 🙂

Group Work

You will, at some point, have to work with others in a classroom situation. There is no avoiding this. All professors feel that there is some value in having students work together. Personally, I think that they find watching students work together funny. Group work sucks when you are an adult. Why? Because invariably you have to “talk” to the people in the group and they are most often much younger than you. Which means I don’t care about your party, I don’t care about how drunk you were or are, I don’t care that you think not doing the work is “cool,” I don’t care how high you were or are, I don’t care about your relationship issues, I don’t fucking CARE! I want to get the group work done and go back to my loner ways.

Unfortunately, this never happens. Typically, I am the one to lead the group, to direct the group, to do the work. In a classroom situation, the above rant is smaller in scope, and manageable-there are only 50 minutes after all. However, there have been other group projects, semester long group projects where…does herding cats sound fun?

I will pull my weight, I will do my work, and for a leader who has earned my respect I will go the extra mile. However, when the group procrastinates, dithers, fucks around, and generally spends their time not doing their share, I get…spikey. Semester long group projects have gotten me to yell at a classroom full of students because the project deadline was approaching and they had done less than stellar work. I have taken leadership of a project when I was not supposed to be the leader. I have…suffice to say I loathe group projects.

Giving Presentations (beyond speeches)

I knew when I took my first communications class that I would have to stand up in front of a classroom and talk about something. Not saying I enjoyed the thought, but I knew it was part and parcel of most communication courses. I was not prepared for the number of presentations outside of communication courses that I would end up giving (not including yelling at students). Presentations outside of communications courses tend to be easier, in my case most of them were short presentations where I imparted information, such as page layout or a blurb on St. Augustine.

Communications courses prepared me to give the smaller presentations. The smaller presentations reinforced the speeches from communications courses. Together they prepared me to stand in front of students and teach them about blogging for 7 weeks and for a trip to Minneapolis…but that is another 500 Words or two.

Spongebob Speech (es)

While I am on speeches I should talk about a few things. First, if you ever end up at Ferris State University and need to take a communications course, I can recommend a solid professor, taught me all I know. Not that I listened or implemented that well. When it came to visual aids, I am old school. I would rather have people look at me and what is in my hands than stare past my head to read a power point. I really dislike power points, to the point that I went out of my way to avoid using them. I would recommend that you do not. When I finally did use power point presentations I found that the expectation of their use put the audience at ease. I still dislike them.

Lastly, when in a communications course it helps to have at least one fun presentation. Given that in most classes you will give three to four presentations in a variety of formats and styles, try to find one topic that you can use multiple times and is fun. I found Spongebob. My love for Spongebob is well know or is now if you didn’t know.

Spongebob_and_his_best_friends_by_LazyAsHellI used Spongebob for a rebuttal speech, the show is NOT corrosive to young minds. I can prove it, just not now. I used Spongebob for an informal speech that lasted just over a half-hour. Yes, I can talk about Spongebob for a while. Suffice to say, that it became a “thing” for me to end a class with presentations with some small nod to Spongebob.

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