Today is the last meeting of my Public Speaking class.
I’ve lost two students from the class in the last week. One student really should have been dropped from the course; if he showed up, he sat in the back, contributed nothing to the class and never turned in any of the work. I was a little surprised at this, I have to say, because my class was his second crack at a passing p/s grade – he’d failed the course when it was offered over the summer.
The other student who was dropped is a different story, though I’m not 100% sure of what, exactly, his story is. Unlike my other boy, when he was in the class, he was in the class, but he was absent a lot. I don’t know whether his absences were for health reasons, but I do know that, early in the semester, his grandmother suffered a massive stroke and he went home to Michigan to be with his family. He was gone for a couple of weeks, and I’m not sure he felt as though he could recover from that extended leave, even though I assured him that I’d grant him an extension for the course. I’m a little sad to see him go, but I’m absolutely behind cutting the first boy loose.
Today’s class will be the presentation of the students’ final speeches. My group is down to ten (eleven, really, but one girl is pregnant and on bed rest and likely won’t show up today). If I’m doing the math correctly (and, really, that’s never a safe assumption), it should take us about an hour to get through everyone’s speeches. I’ve invited some smart people to come and see the students’ speeches and I wrote a rubric for them the uses as they watch the kids speak. I’m looking forward to seeing how closely my evaluations of the students’ work match with the impartial outsiders’ observations.
I’m hoping for, but not expecting, a pile of papers to bring home this afternoon. I caved a bit and allowed a couple of the students to hand in some of their work today because I really want them to pass the course. I’m hoping they see the opportunity for what it is and take advantage of it, because that door slams shut at 1:00 p.m. today.
I’ve had a great term. It’s been quite a ride, and I’m going to miss some of these kids. I wonder how many of them feel the same….