This week’s readings had me thinking a lot about the type of teacher I am. From thinking about the ways I communicate to my students, to considering what kind of subliminal cues I may be emitting, the articles truly had the cogs in my head turning.
Personally, whether I would like to admit or not, I am someone who spends a lot of time overanalyzing the presentations I make and the words I say because I believe that messages have impact. Because of that, the last thing I would ever want is for a student to feel as though I am excluding them in the classroom. I always make an effort to make my classroom into a safe space where my students can feel comfortable to be themselves, and these days that is done solely by communication over Zoom. I explain often that we are all here to learn, and being a Public Speaking teacher specifically, I know how daunting the class as a whole can be for students who are petrified of speaking in front of a crowd.
Some ways I am able to communicate inclusivity to my students is by explaining that it is completely okay to feel nervous, and that even I do as well from time to time. I make an effort to humanize myself, and show them that its okay to not be perfect. From there, my students usually breathe a sigh of relief because we’re all on a journey together. After all, they are the ones who make me a better teacher, and it is my job to make them better speakers. In addition to that, I also allow for fun “hot seat” exercises on speech days where my students volunteer for me to ask them a random question. That normally makes them feel a bit comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, as well as allows the class to learn a little more about them. They all seem to really enjoy it, and the class as a whole ends up growing together as a community as a result.