Seriously Thinking About the Possibilities
By Iris L. Kitching
My husband Will and I attended a 9th grade science awards program at a high school a year ago. We were shocked by the many grammatical errors on the posters, in videos, and in live speeches. It was as if the students had no clue of their incorrect words or incomplete sentences. We couldn’t imagine that parents and teachers had ignored or not noted obvious errors to be corrected, or worse yet, that they were oblivious to them. Equally disheartening was how some students gave their presentations mumbling, talking too fast, not making eye contact, having low energy or having distracting tapping or other movements. I couldn’t help but wonder if these students had ever taken speech or communication classes or how well they did in English classes. I know parenting isn’t easy. I raised 2 boys and a girl.
To the students’ credit, the science projects and research information were excellent and showed how diligently they had worked to research and pull their material together. I felt sad for their lack of proper grammar or inadequate presentation skills. I knew they would likely face problems that would put them at a disadvantage when they started college or entered the workplace. Many of them didn’t realize their errors; possibly their parents didn’t either. I contemplated whether the students had opportunities to work with someone to assist them. Sad to say, public schools (and even some private schools) are sorely lacking in providing valuable instruction or extra help for students. Clearly these students needed assistance in
1. Reviewing their paper or presentation for grammatical correctness and sentence structure and being informed on necessary changes, and
2. Having someone listen to the presentation and offering suggestions for improvement (eye to eye contact, slower or faster pacing, better posture, etc).
I could do that and would enjoy it, I thought to myself recently! Spelling, grammar, and writing were easy for me. I got top grades in English classes. As a brush up of my knowledge and skills, I spent many a night during the past ten years reading over my granddaughters’ papers, and looking at their presentation ideas and posters to suggest minor changes. Could I not do the same for others? For seven years during this same time period I was the newsletter editor for my church, without formal training but I simply had a love and a knack for it. I enjoyed reading articles submitted monthly and correcting/rewriting when necessary. And, my training in CLASS (Christian Leaders Authors and Speakers Seminars) could be utilized well too. I still have my presentation notebook and reviewing several of those topics would certainly be helpful.
The students’ dilemma, which they don’t seem to be aware of yet, could be solved by skilled people helping them put their best foot forward after they did the initial classwork and research. If only I had recognized that this help was needed two years ago when I considered retiring.
As I plan for my future in the coming months, I am exciting about how I can help to enhance the future of students, especially those disadvantaged, who need a little extra assistance. I’m seriously thinking about the possibilities!
This is my Day 9 for the 30 Day Writing Challenge in the Speak Write Now Community.