Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oral reports

Three oral reports today. All were very good. Let me share the highlights.

Student one got sick during his oral report and needed to step out of the classroom. He’s a great student so there was nothing sketchy. He returned and completed his presentation, which was very good. However, he was really embarrassed and ended up compounding the situation by talking a lot about it when he returned. Instead of a generic I-am-not-feeling-well-and-needed-a-moment, he offered the rest of the class (7 in all) a much more detailed account of his nausea. He said that he did not want things to get disgusting and felt that a mess might have ensued if he had not stepped out, and that the table would have needed to be cleaned, etc. Like I said, he was really embarrassed. The harder he tried to offer an explanation, the worse it became.

Student two wore a bright purple fur shawl. It was very cool and got the attention of the other students in the class; those who are scheduled to make presentations on Tuesday discussed the possibility of borrowing it or otherwise preparing a comparable wardrobe. Her presentation matched the accessory.

Student three has a severe phobia of presentations and last week asked to be excused from it. I kindly refused but offered to go over it with her in advance. This had been going on over email for a few days. She is an excellent student, so I explained to her that her presentation was part of her contribution to the seminar (which has been consistently good all semester). She was visibly nervous at times, but afterward she was almost grateful that I had encouraged her to do it. It went off without any hitches. One of the allowances I made was switching her from first to third, which may have helped since the strangeness of student one’s illness strangely lightened the mood.

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