Jan
2018

Motivation for Monday, 8 January 2018

Today, I started another public speaking course.  I’m quite adept at reading student faces on the first day.  For all of those students, past and present, who find no reason to take communication courses, let alone majoring in communication, consider the following.  And consider it again when you don’t believe it.

Dec
2016

‘Tis the Season

It’s not the holiday season I’m referring to. No, I’m referring to the season of student inquiries, lack of preparation, general disrespect, and teacher/professor burnout.

I give you “Did I Miss Anything?” by Tom Wayman.

Did I Miss Anything?

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

—Tom Wayman

Consider visiting “Poetry 180 / A Poem a Day for American High SchoolsHosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003”, if you’re not too busy reading the syllabus two days before finals week.