Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ode to my Public Speaking Students

Posted by Jennifer at 2:12 AM
This semester, I was blessed with a great group of students for my Wednesday night public speaking course. On the first day, many students said that they hated public speaking and so I thought I had a hard road ahead of me. Turns out, the students were amazing. They came to class ready to discuss, learn, and have fun. I realize this sounds very strange considering how many people hate public speaking, let alone 3 hour night classes but we really did have fun. We had so many inside jokes and so I had to turn some of those into a cake for this great class of mine.

This was a pretty big cake but appears much smaller in this picture. It was pretty much the size of the real podium we had in class. There were two tiers of cake within this podium. One was Mom's Apple Pie (spice cake with baked apples layered with cheesecake cream filling and buttercream) and one was a Turtle Power Cake (chocolate cake layered with caramel cream filling, pecans, and chocolate ganache). The whole cake was covered in marshmallow fondant that was marbleized to look like wood grain.

The "paper" (made of marshmallow fondant) reads:

Comm 1020: Public Speaking
1. Take a deep breath
2. Connect with the audience
3. Use cue cards
4. Don't stare at Jennifer

I made a podium because I told the students near the beginning of the semester that I suggest not using a podium. Students tend to hold on for dear life when using a podium therefore limiting their movement and natural nonverbal behavior. During our second round of speeches, two of the students decided to use the podium. After they were done, one of the audience members said, "Why are you letting them use the podium? I thought you said that wasn't allowed." I thought it was hilarious that my suggestion turned into a rule. In any case, I made the podium to make my point stronger. As far as the paper goes, I always discuss the importance of taking a deep breath before giving speeches and also making a connection with the audience through topic selection and eye contact so I had to add those to the list.

As for #3 on the paper, one of the students asked who was going to hold his cue cards while giving his speech. I asked, "What cue cards?" He tried to convince me that I told the class that someone would hold cue cards in the audience while they speak. I swore up and down that he had made it up and the other students in class backed me up. Regardless, it was the first time a student has asked to have cue cards and so it soon became a reoccurring joke for the class.

Lastly, I oftentimes get students who speak to me (since I'm assigning grades and all), rather than to the audience as a whole which results in them staring at me for the length of their speech. When this happens, I write "Don't stare at me" on their evaluations. These students will almost always ask me after class, "What do you mean? I wasn't staring at you!" I tell them to watch their video so they can see how awkward I feel when they make a bee-line for my eye contact and practically stare at me the whole time they speak. It's fun to be a teacher :)

Anywho, I truly enjoyed this semester with my students and wanted to reward them for their hard work and for putting up with me for 3 hours every week. Thank you, Kyle, Rich, Jesse, Brooke, Kevin, Annette, Jared, Wade, Travis, Will, Shay, Jessica, Trevor, Casey, Brittany, Virginia, Stephanie, Duc, and Daniel. You were awesome!


JRP said...

wow, not only a beautiful cake, but i now know a ton more about public speaking! thanks, cake doctor!


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