I’ve been at this a LONG time – teaching students how to manage the interpretive speech. It is definitely a purist endeavor that relies on the student alone to create the entire context suggested by a reduced segment of a piece of literature. There is nothing easy about it. When it’s done well, it really works. As students strive to reach that mark, I find that they make the same basic mistakes along the way, and these fall into two basic categories: technical mistakes and ownership mistakes. Let me explain….
During our Regional Championship tournament, I had a conversation with a student who said the most honest thing I’ve heard in a long while. I initiated the conversation because I work Communications at the tournaments and I could see the student was tense, frustrated, distressed even. When I asked about it, I got the usual response, “My speeches have gone so badly. I really wanted to do well so I could get to Nationals.” There is not a good response for this. I know all the correct things to say: Nationals isn’t the goal. You’ve grown so much. The trophies will fade. None of that matters in the moment of disappointment, so I said nothing and gave the student a hug. That was when it got real. Coming off that hug, the student said this:
“I want to be part of the friend group that goes to Nationals, and I’m not going to be… again.”Continue reading “A Challenge for those who attended Nationals…”