Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 5: the teachers of life lessons

Today, I am thankful for Dr. Martin & Brett Kramer calling my use of the word "like" to the carpet; for the hours that Mrs. Amdor spent working with me to prepare for speech competitions; for the extensive speaking experiences afforded to me through 4-H and FFA. These people and experiences have shaped me into a competent public speaker. One of my co-workers yesterday complimented my ability to stop, pause, and find the right word rather than using fillers when teaching and presenting. It didn't happen, naturally; it's the result of practice, response to correction and suggestions, and mindfulness.

So, that basically sums it up.

When my co-worker bestowed this compliment, I immediately called to mind the fateful day/conversation. I was sitting in the waiting room to meet with my advisor, Dr. Robert Martin, who was also the Department Head for Agricultural Education & Studies at Iowa State University. It was my junior year. Dr. Martin came walking into 201 with Brett Kramer, a PhD student and instructor, who was one of my favorites. Naturally, I greeted them enthusiastically. Naturally, a conversation began.

I can't remember what I was talking about, but in the middle of the conversation, Dr. Martin remarked, "Jessica, you use the word "like" too much." Brett agreed.

Like any good college student, I tried justifying my use of the popular filler. I said, "I'm not using like as just a filler, though, I'm using it to describe what people say."

I believe he responded something to the effect of: "Jessica, you should use that word, then, not like. Say what you mean, and find the best word that accomplishes that."

Here is why I appreciated, and continue to appreciate, Dr. Martin: he observes changes that should be made and then mentions what should be changed. He didn't chastise or mock. He just called it out, matter-of-factly - to make me better, not to belittle.

Observing some panel members, recently, I discovered that one could have used a Dr. Martin in her life. Generational are hard, but not impossible, to break. As I said in my post: it's the result of practice and mindfulness.

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