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Posts Tagged ‘Academics’

Dear Dominic,

You are something else. You call to mind Forrest Gump:

Your raging hormones ensure that life with you is unpredictable, at best.

See, this recent text exchange made me laugh:

 

 

(Why didn’t you take a selfie? I don’t know.)

This one with your father is pretty funny also:

And you even charmed some college girls when I took you to my Public Speaking class as a visual aid. One student was doing her informative speech on the difference between college-aged Gen Z and younger representatives of the generation.

Students in the class gave the presenter high marks for her breathing visual aid:

When you left, half the girls in the class squealed, “He’s SO CUTE.”

Don’t let that go to your head.

For the love of gawd, as you wrote.

Just don’t.

Instead, focus on your school work so I don’t have to have convos like this:

I love you despite your bad attitude and general slackery.
Mama

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Dear Students Taking My Public Speaking Course,

I just met you this week, and already I’m channeling Dug from “Up.”

This semester is going to be so much fun as I help you unlock your best self — capable of any kind of public speaking. Some of you may not be the next Aristotle, but you’ll be good. Or at least better than you are today.

In return, here are some (nonnegotiable) things I ask from you:

  1. Please use my proper title in email and in person. I’m even fine with “Dr. Beth,” “Dr. C.” or even “Doc Con.” “Miss C” and “Hey” are not acceptable. I worked hard for my doctorate. (Blog readers remember.) And as my teachers said in high school, “Hey” is for horses. (Yuk, yuk.)
  2. Turn in your work on time. That’s in the syllabus, but I’m putting it here too. You may have the best excuse anyone has ever had, but you also have known what is due and when well in advance thanks to that magical syllabus.
  3. Show up to class, and show up on time. You can’t learn anything if you aren’t in class. Again, I don’t want to hear excuses — especially about traffic. We are in Atlanta: You should know to budget an extra hour to get anywhere.
  4. If you do miss class, DO NOT ask me if you missed anything important. Dear God. That’s the WORST. What am I supposed to say? “No, we just sat around and mourned your absence.” Look at the syllabus, and figure it out. Or ask a classmate. Also, I’ve put all assignments online. SIGH.

In return for following these (really quite simple) rules, I promise to make class interesting. Here are some testimonials from your fellow students:

I love you all equally. It’s true; I promise! Read this.

And I can’t imagine my life without teaching — even if it is only one class per semester.

I’m looking forward to seeing you next week when you will deliver your first speech!

Don’t panic. You’ve got this. I’m here for you.

Sincerely,
Dr. Beth

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O Canada!

I’ve enjoyed my short time in your Ontario province’s capital city of Toronto. It’s like New York with nicer people.

For example, an elderly lady stopped me to tell me I have a great walk. (That’s a first.)

The food has been spectacular.

Just look at this noodle bowl full of hand-pulled noodles.

And before you suggest poutine, know this: I’ve tried poutine. I like poutine. I couldn’t find poutine in the restaurants in my hotel’s immediate vicinity. I’m still working on it!

I did find a moose, though.

On a break from my conference, I did do one important touristy thing: I went to the top of the CN Tower.

I love heights. I would have done the EdgeWalk, but I didn’t bring the right shoes. I did appreciate the glass floor.

But perhaps not as much as others.

Even if I hadn’t been wearing a dress, I’m not sure I would have rolled around on the floor like a baby on a play mat.

Anyway, I’ve had a great time. Thank you for your hospitality. Hope to see you again soon!

Yours,
Beth

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Dear Climate Change Deniers,

I know that nothing I say can change your mind, but I can’t sleep unless I try. (I mean I can’t sleep anyway, so … )

Here are my boni fides: I have five college degrees: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D. (not bragging; just offering facts). The second is the one you should care about as it is in Geosciences.

That’s right. I’m a meteorologist.

(Uh oh, trigger warning: a scientist — member of the intellectual elite, blah blah blah.)

I know evidence when I see it with my own eyes. Even without other scientists (and even NASA) saying over and over that global warming is real, I see proof in many ways.

Increasing intensity and number of tropical storms is just one. I mean, just look!

WTF?!

So it’s really hard to deny that climate change is real.

Still with me? Let’s move on.

The second argument is whether it is caused by fellow two-legged menaces. Like most rational humans, I believe it is. That doesn’t really matter, though.

Shouldn’t we still engage in practices that will improve the environment as opposed to destroying it?

Shouldn’t we still explore alternative fuel sources?

Shouldn’t we still recycle, pick up after ourselves, eschew straws in favor of sea turtles and the like?

We all have to live here on Earth, you know. Despite Elon Musk’s attempts, Mars is still not an option.

It’s not like it really costs each of us much more to be responsible land dwellers.

Plus, there are plenty of jobs in new technologies, so it makes fiscal sense.

Come on, folks: Work with me here. Let’s be rational and make some progress together.

You want to, right?

It’d be a lot cooler if you did,
Beth

*Brian Klaas, The Washington Post

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Dear Conference Presenters:

Congratulations on having a research paper or topic deemed worthy of presentation. You cleared the biggest hurdle!

The next hurdle is the actual presentation.

When you are preparing your remarks, keep in mind that the audience members are your peers. They come to your session because there is something about it that seems interesting. They may or may not know as much as you do about your subject.

You have a duty to prepare something interesting. Auntie Beth is here to help.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for presenting (really, any kind of public speaking):

  • DO tell a story to kick off the presentation. You can do this; humans are natural storytellers. For example, tell us how you got interested in your topic.
  • DO think of your presentation as a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • DO have visual aids. DON’T write out all your text on the slides.
  • DO show how to use the technology if you are presenting on the benefits of an app. Every conference room has a projector. DON’T walk up and down the aisle waving your phone as a visual aid.
  • DO relax and turn on the charm. Think of it as a conversation, or at least a conversation starter.
  • DO pay attention to your audience. If they are napping, then your storytelling needs some work.
  • DON’T read your research paper, for the love of God. (I will leave your session so fast I’ll just be a blur.)
  • DON’T go over your allotted time. It’s just unprofessional and rude to your co-presenters.
  • DON’T fight with your audience. It’s OK to disagree with various points people make, but it’s not OK to get shouty.
  • DO let organizers know if it seems like the panel makeup is not as diverse as it should be. With all the focus on under-representation, you would think that all white male panels would be a thing of the past. You would be wrong. This guy gets it:

Remember to breathe and have fun. If you aren’t having fun, neither will the people who came to see you.

Go get ’em, Tiger!
Auntie Beth

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Dear Fake News Media:

You don’t exist.

You are a figment of a certain someone‘s overactive imagination and marketing strategy to a willing audience.

You are an oxymoron. If something is fake (i.e., not real), it’s not news (news is real). News is not fake just because someone doesn’t like it.

You know what does exist? Actual news media made up of real people who work their butts off to inform the population and hold people in power accountable — the fourth estate that ensures a strong republic. (Oh that old thing … )

You know what is newsworthy? Here are the criteria:

Timeliness: happening now or just happened
Prominence: the person/entity involved is well known or powerful
Proximity: happening or happened nearby
Impact/consequence: affected or will affect readers/viewers
Novelty/rarity: out of the ordinary
Human interest: the lives of others are interesting

If it’s not out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t bear a mention. That’s just the way it is.

There’s a saying in news:

You don’t cover the planes that land.

You cover the wrecks.

Someone I know on Facebook (name withheld for protection) wrote:

MSM would be lost were it not for [Trump’s] tweets. They hang on every word, analyze them, and re-analyze them.

Um … yeah. He’s the president. What he says is news. Duh.

“Lost,” though? Not likely.

There’s plenty to cover without Trump tweeting.

It blows my mind how much we cover in one day.

That’s from Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News.

She said that last night in the AEJMC keynote panel, “Covering the White House: From Eisenhower to Trump,” held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on C-SPAN.

(Yeah, I’m at a journalism education conference with other university professors/administrators — plus news organizations/foundations — and I’m still a journalist. Both of my professions are under fire. Lucky me!)

Those people who are suspicious of the mainstream media, though, should take solace in this fact shared in that same panel by Christi Parsons, former White House correspondent with the Tribune Company.

Because [Trump] is so personally antagonistic, journalists go above and beyond to double check.

The news media is not the “enemy of the people.” The news media consists of real people trying to do important work in a profession under siege by the person in the nation’s highest office.

Those who delight in calling the media “enemy” plus “fake,” think about this:

Do you really want to live in a country without independent media covering people making decisions with your tax money?

The true enemy of the people is the lack of critical thinking.

My advice to those worried about veracity and bias? Get your news from a variety of sources, as suggested by Herman and Chomsky way back in the ’80s.

My advice to the 43 percent in that poll? Please educate yourself about democracy and guy named Jefferson. Or don’t, but don’t answer polls. Skip the news, and just go watch Netflix and chill.

My advice to journalists? Keep on keeping on. Ask the tough questions. Submit the open records requests. Keep striving for objectivity.

We need you more than ever.

And tell me where I can donate so you can hire security.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

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Dear William Shakespeare:

May I call you Wills (like a famous best man)? I feel like I’ve gotten to know you better over the past few days. (And you have a beard, which I like.)

My university has a special week-long “school” for professors to do a deep dive into a text to help us better teach it to students. I signed up for “Othello,” as it is even more relevant today (and I hadn’t read it since I was at this university the first time as a student). (Best part: Watching the Mekhi Phifer/Julia Stiles/Josh Hartnett movie version as homework.)

Anyway, you wrote certain lines in your other plays that people really love and quote all the time. Yet I found some in “Othello” that I’m going to start using regularly:

“Being full of supper and distempering draughts, upon malicious bravery dost thou come to start my quiet?”

I plan to use Brabantio’s line (Act 1, Scene 1) the next time Darryl rings the doorbell after 9 p.m.

“O, gentle lady, do not put me to’t, for I am nothing if not critical.”

I’ll channel Iago (Act 2, Scene 1) with Miles’ mom at the pool this weekend.

“I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was craftily qualified too, and behold what innovation it makes here!”

Cassio knows a good drinking line when he speaks it (Act 2, Scene 3). As do I. Speaking of drinking …

“I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting.”

Indeed. Iago speaks the truth (Act 2, Scene 3) about folks drinking in a big way.

“Ha, I like not that.”

Iago delivers a line (Act 3, Scene 3) that is perfect for a variety of occasions.

So thanks for putting words in my mouth. It may have been hard to be the bard, but your efforts still resonate more than 400 years later.

Yours in all kindness,
Beth

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