Guess what day it is?! It’s the first day of school–for me. Thank God, I’ll be in front of the class, rather than sitting in one of the desks. That’s right…I’m a teacher. An adjunct professor, to be exact. I won’t carry on as if it’s some distinguished position, it’s just a speech class. (It does pay and I do enjoy it though!) Speech is the one class that’s usually seen as a “bird” class, unimportant and a waste of time. It’s mostly filled with sophomores, who just want to get out of the way already and graduating seniors, who waited until the last minute because they dread public speaking.
Public speaking is the #1 fear among Americans. Yes, it trumps the fear of heights and arachnophobia. As much as people run their mouths, when it’s time to stand before a crowd and express themselves, they become sweaty-handed and mute. Oh, the irony.
That’s where I come in, I guess. After teaching for four semesters, I’ve found out that breaking down the fear barrier is but only one challenge. The biggest challenge of all is making sure students can even speak properly–as in use correct grammar, articulate, etc. Can you really stop someone from beginning and ending every statement and/question with “Ummm…yeah” and “So, like…” and “Yaknowhatimsayin?” and “Knowhatimtalmbout?” when they’ve been speaking that way their entire lives?
My success rate isn’t 100 percent, but I try.
I don’t know who’s in my class this semester, but if I could get my hands on some folks who definitely need public speaking classes, these would be my picks:
Yeah, I said! I love Bey/Sasha just as much as the next person, but we all know she has the personality of a brick, and she shows it during every on-air interview. Yes, she’s gotten better over the years (I credit Oprah), but honestly, if people weren’t mesmerized by her “divatude” and beauty or waiting to hear intimate secrets about Sean Carter, we’d all be bored to tears. Her voice is monotone and she almost seems robotic. I wish her performance personality could transfer over to her public speaking. Then again, I guess that’d be TOO damn much. Sasha is enough.
Wacka Flocka Flame
Don’t look crazy. I know he’s been shot, thanks to trending topics on Twitter, and I pray he recovers. The crazy thing is I was planning to post this last week and he was on the list anyway. Living in Memphis, we have the esteemed honor of getting any and everything that Atlanta has to offer musically before anyone else. I’ve been hearing promos about “O Let’s Do It” for about a month, if not longer. FTR: It sounds like this, ” O le duuu ehhh.” You know how Atlanta folk like to cut their words off.
If anybody needed a pass to go back to grammar school and get hooked on phonics, from the sounds of it, it would be Wacka Flocka. Just the selection of his stage name alone speaks volumes about where he’s coming from. It sounds like a cartoon character to me.
This is clearly a lost cause, but I just felt like he should be on the list.
Soulja Boy and Anyone Affiliated (Travis Porter Nem)
Admit it, “All The Way Turnt Up” is your jam. It bangs in the club and the car. When it comes on, I put on my That’s My Ish face and start to jig a little bit. But it wasn’t always this way. When I heard the song for the first time, I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. I guess the point is to slur your words together. Is that the gimmick? In any case, I’d love to hear Travis Porter during an interview.
The Boy Walking Next To Me In the Mall
Boy, whoever you are, I’m sure you’re not old enough for college classes yet, but I would offer to sponsor you enroll in a non-credit class. It’s that crucial. It’s common rule that you can’t talk on your cell unless you talk loud enough for everyone else to hear you. Anything else would be uncivilized. Walking through the jam-packed mall, this guy and I were practically rubbing shoulders, he was walking so close to me. (I gave him a pass because it was the day after Christmas). Even if I wanted to know what his conversation was about, I would need an interpreter first. Not one word did I understand. It was jibberish to me, but his friends understood him perfectly. Between every other mumbled phrase, his friends would laugh and throw in an ocassional “mane” or “foreal bruh.” Other than that, I came up with nothing.
It was that day that I went home, opened my laptop and confirmed my request to teach Oral Communications yet again. Let’s see what this semester brings. Who else do you think needs a good public speaking class?