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Guest speakers: Get out! by bayripley
04/05/2010, 23:38
Filed under: college

Appearing in front of a classroom full of students to give a lecture may be appealing to certain individuals but the results usually turn out boring. Thus said an “aged” college student.

I have been going to college for seven years. I have not counted the guest speakers that visited me during my ordinary course schedule but I know that almost all of them have been great fails. Here is why.

Figure in your head: He hops on a plane, checks in a hotel, finds his way through big, chaotic city to the campus, meets his colleagues, walks into classroom, starts talking. All require a certain type of enthusiasm.  He wants to instruct what he is competent. But the result is epic fail: Kids look at himwith extremely bored expressions. Some kids “take notes” on their netbooks with their Windows games open, some others prefer taking notes on their personal calendars, certain are on social networks, some sleep with eyes open, some sleep apparently on desks. Everyone is silent but no one is actually listening. They hate that you are there. They ask “Why the hack this guy is here?”

Where is the problem? First, the cliché. If the speaker does not know how to attract the audience’s attention, the outcome is always a problem. Secondly, the organizers may make some mistakes that ruin your day: For example, today, while I am writing this entry, a guy specialized in French foreign policy is giving lectures to a class of Latin America! Shouldn’t he be lecturing in a course about Europe? Does he say a word on French politics towards Latin America? En fait, NON!

Here comes the other problem. The guest speaker may be a great one. This creates frustration: Knowing that you have had the best lecture ever on the course, you are filled with despair during every other class after the great speaker. One day, you have a UNESCO employee who is pursuing your dream career, the other day you listen to a dull presentation of your classmates. You always tell yourself: God, this is not fair! How much boring presentations should I go through until that dream job which passed through last week?

A similar frustration is built with substitute teachers. When a great one fills in lieu of your boring teacher, you curse the day you were put into that class. The best example for that is the time when Sylvie Ari filled the classes of her incompetent colleagues at GSU. She is so fun, and you are so condemned to your boring teacher until the end of year.

Let’s not forget the guest speakers who turn into freaks during lecture: Once, a visiting professor to law school read poetry, tried to flirt with girls, and humiliated the class. He was supposed to give a lecture on fire assurance. But in the end, he was almost set on fire by the audience.

That’s why, even if the speaker is right, they are not welcome! If I can turn out to an academic as I plan, I am going to think twice before I accept the guest speaker invitations. Dear colleagues, please do the same. And Dear Today’s Guest Speaker, we need to talk. “You seem like a nice guy but we can’t be together. It’s not you, it’s me.”


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[…] are talking about that boring French politicians, (yes, I am still at the same boring lecture of the guest speaker) we are breaking new records on Spider […]

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