Temperament Matters in Public Speaking


PLATOThis summer marks the twenty-fifth year I have been teaching what the speech communication discipline calls the “basic” course. At Penn State, the course is now Communication Arts and Sciences 100. Before I even graduated with my MA in 1988 I was hired over the phone to teach a “basic” course that began the next day for a community college in Northeastern PA. The instructor had reneged on his original agreement to teach the course, and I was all too eager to take the assignment. I said “yes” before I realized I had never taught a course in anything and being the youngest of three siblings I had never even taught anyone to tie shoes. I was twenty-three years old.

I still remember some of the students in my class. There were no more than fifteen students and one girl’s name was Honor. Quite an unusual name, I thought. I’ve…

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