How to Maintain Your Afro

I really enjoy my work at the community college. It’s a different crowd than the fashion students, but I feel like most of the people in my room are there because they want to be there. They are ready to learn. They are often hungry to learn. One of my students missed class last week, and was not prepared to present his speech today. I pleasantly let him know that he needed to “get ready,” and offered to move him to the end of the list. He was a little terrified, but he pulled to together and came up with a pretty decent speech. Thankfully, he was able to watch some of his classmates go first so that he could get an idea of how the “Demonstration Speech” works. He was not the only one who was less than prepared. This is a speech that requires students to bring in visual aids. Another student “forgot” his visual aids at home, but created this lovely drawing to help us all learn “How to Maintain Your Afro.”


Hmmm. One required aspect of this assignment was to make sure your topic could relate to the audience. As he was the only student with an afro, it would have been challenging to convince this audience that we should care about maintaining one. Well, it was a noble effort. And the student who missed last week’s class? He did an okay job. He brought me a letter as he was leaving when class was finished. It was a note explaining his absence – he was in the hospital with his wife as she delivered their first child. He wrote that he understands the importance of regular class attendance, and that he would be at all the remaining sessions. Oy. Perhaps I should have cut him some slack on the assignment. Then again, at least he got it over with. I’m sure he has a lot more on his plate now as a new parent.

One of my darling fashion students pulled me aside before class last week. She broke down in tears and explained that she couldn’t give her presentation because she was too nervous. This is rough for me. I can’t bear to see them cry. I passed her a kleenex, and we talked a little about dealing with nerves. Then I gently reminded her that she was enrolled in a Public Speaking course. The only way she would earn any credit is by giving speeches. Of course, I referred to the option of withdrawing. She had absolutely no intention of doing that, and seemed surprised that I brought it up. After a quick trip to the washroom where she dried her tears and freshened up a bit, she came back in and gave her speech. Bravo.

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