Teaching and public speaking

I was standing in front of the class, with a heavy lump in my throat and my heart pumping blood so hard I could feel the blood throbbing in my brain.

My primary school teacher told everyone in the class that all of us had to do a short presentation. The topic could be on anything. An incident, or hobby description, whatever. The point was to get us to speak in front of the class.

So I talked about David Eddings (my favourite author. Still is). I talked about his book about the powerful jewel named Blue Rose. And I talked about one of his characters (Kalten) mistaking something.

“And so they defenestrated him.”
“They did what?!? That’s a terrible thing to do to a man.” said Kalten.
“They threw him out of the window.”
Pause.
“Oh.”

Just in case you’re wondering, Kalten thought that man was castrated. Which would be a terrible thing to do to a man.

No response from the class, even the boys. Apparently 11 (10? 12? Can’t remember…) year olds are too young to understand the loss of genitalia…

And so I’m wondering, aren’t teachers also public speakers? Granted the audience typically isn’t big, but teachers still go up in front of everyone and start talking (well, teaching, but let’s not split hairs over semantics).

It’s a wonder how university professors get students to learn anything. When I last left university, professors were graded on their ability to teach. Possibly as a criteria to continuing their tenure. We take education seriously here in Singapore.

In closing, I’ll be teaching a course (up in 3 more days!). It’s called OpenXML Spreadsheet Boot Camp, a programming course on Open XML spreadsheets. Half the course is about dissecting the behaviour of Microsoft Excel, so you might find that interesting even if you don’t use the Open XML SDK or Open XML spreadsheets in general.

  1. Vincent

    “but it seems being thrown out a window would be ‘terrible’ as well.”

    Especially if it’s a high window. Which was the case when defenestration was a popular execution method.

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