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October 12th, 2010

i hate teaming up with people for presentations. i hate it so much that it makes my skin crawl. so this part of grad school is not going that well for me.

“It’s all presentations,” one of my co-workers informed me, “You’re teaching, and you’re paying for it.”

“Your profs should be teaching — they’re the ones with the doctorates, not you!” another co-worker said. “You shouldn’t have to teach the class.”

they make me choke once i get up there, these presentations, they make me angry, they make me uncomfortable. and not in a “growing, expanding your mind” kinda way. in just an angry, this is not working for me kinda way.

i don’t like being yoked with someone (other than my husband and kids, and God knows they give me the space I need, and i can generally predict what they’re going to do.) “group process”? I do okay with group process — i yield, i go with the flow, i offer up ideas, and if something is really important to me, i fight for it. God knows we did enough of that with our political associates and PPS Equity.

i acted in a lot of plays in high school and college, worked as stage manager, managed a hair salon, modeled, all sorts of different “presentations.” Productions, if you will. i’ve competed in voice, done some theater work with Steve, i’ve presented to the school board, i’ve introduced myself and given my schtick at about one bazillion meetings. Get in, get out, hit it and quit it. Know your lines. All good. I’ve taught all grades from kinder to 8th grade in the library, and i’ve worked with high schoolers, too. I fly with that just fine.

so why the freak-out, McGill?

i saw a black guy sitting with a white guy at the library once — they were reading together. one with dreads, serious look on his face; one dishevelled, looking anxious. i could not get a bead on them — until i realized that the black guy was teaching the white guy how to read. literacy. adult literacy. one-on-one.

he didn’t know how to read but he was learning.

was that when I decided I wanted to teach? i don’t know. maybe.

all i know is that that moment, right there, with those two guys who were oblivious to me and the rest of the world around them — that is teaching.

and it did not involve a powerpoint presentation, printed hand-outs or props.

peace. and wish me luck, would you?

— wm


  1. Dan Hortsch says

    Good luck, lots of it, Nancy. I don’t like group stuff either, but I learned how to do it, to a point, at The O. But a presentation as the product of a group effort, that is another kind of challenge. All best….(What I really hated were sessions when The O was riding high and spending money on newspaper journalism consultants who told us how to work in teams, or how to discuss larger stories and plan them. Awful.)

    October 12th, 2010 | #

  2. Rita says

    Hang in there. This too shall pass — as soon as you graduate since you’ll rarely if ever have to do “group process” in real life. Good thing, too, in my view.

    October 12th, 2010 | #

  3. Nan says

    Aargh. Just do it. It’s like potty training, it’ll be over eventually!

    October 13th, 2010 | #

  4. The Other Laura says

    Good luck, honey. It is just a hoop you have to jump through…

    October 13th, 2010 | #

  5. Wacky Mommy says

    Dan, thanks. I remember thinking, “You could get three of me for one of him, and who are you going to get more work from?” whenever those dudes would drop by. Then I’d drink another cup of coffee. Rita, it’s a very good thing, cuz grown-ups drive me nuts ;) Nan, heehee. TOL, am now trained seal. Arf.

    October 13th, 2010 | #

  6. Qanzas says

    Group work/presentations in school simply suck. Somehow, all the theatre, teaching, managing employees, and public speeches in the world don’t get rid of group presentation anxiety. Further, one person always does all the work, and the other shows up and reads. GOOD LUCK. Yes, it shall pass, just like high school gym class.

    October 13th, 2010 | #

  7. Wacky Mommy says

    Guess what? Rocked it, daddy. It went great. Get. The. Hell. Out!

    October 13th, 2010 | #

  8. Winn says

    Good for you! Presentations suck. I just got asked to be a “guest lecturer” at a university. Major suckage.

    October 14th, 2010 | #

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