Thursday, March 2, 2017

Single: Ready to Mingle #SOL #SOLSC Day 2

March marks the month-long Slice of Life Story Challenge.
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers team for sponsoring
this month's challenge and for promoting the writing life. 
"I'm single and ready to mingle." 

"Good to know." 

"Yea, there's about six girls in here I could go for right now."

"Did you hear that, ladies? 'T' is single and ready to mingle and wants to date all of you." 

"Yea, especially Lexi over there."

"Did you hear that, Lexi." 

If I were to consider the conversation above from a rhetorical stance and use conversational analysis as a mode of analysis, I might come to a conclusion vastly different from the one I hold as T's teacher. 

By way of introduction, T is a freshman student in my fundamentals of communication class (speech). At the time of T's "I'm single and ready to mingle" proclamation, students were preparing to present Twitter bios, an introductory speech designed to get students in front of their classmates and talking. 

It's a simple assignment. All a student needs to do is create a short bio such as one finds on Twitter, take the bio to the front of the room, and talk about it. Read: Talk about himself/herself. 

Nevertheless, T refused to present his Twitter bio.

T is shy.

Let that sink in for a moment. 

T, a student who readily announced to all he's "single and ready to mingle," is shy. 

T also stutters. He has what I'd characterize as a mid-range stutter. 

T's stutter is accompanied by a mild lisp. 

Yet this shy student who stutters has charmed me and all his classmates. 

We are charmed by T's friendliness, by his sincerity, by his vulnerability, by his honesty, and by his shyness. 

I tried everything I could think of to get T to present his Twitter bio. 

I offered to stand next to him at the front of the room. 

"No. I can't. I'm shy."

I offered to let T present his bio with his back to the class. 

"No. I can't. I'm shy."

I offered to let T sit at his desk and present his bio. 

"No. I can't. I'm shy."

I offered to hold his hand and walk with him to the front of the room.

"No. I can't. I'm shy."

I offered hand-holding by Lexi. Still, the same response. 

I asked all in the class to go to the front of the room and instructed T to sit at his desk and present his bio. The class went to the front, and T responded: 

"No. I can't. I'm shy."

The class echoed my cajoling, reminding me of a Greek chorus. 

Still, no amount of pleading would coax T into presenting his Twitter bio. 

Toward the end of the period I told T that he's my project for the year, that before the class ends I'll have him at the front of the room talking. The class agreed to help. We are on a mission to learn more about T than that he's "single and ready to mingle." 

*I used a screenshot of my Twitter bio to show students how to create their own. I found some pointers on the internet that I dumped into a brief Ppt. This trimester I created a template for my SPED students who struggle with abstract concepts. 
**Looking for a creative exit ticket to gauge understanding of character? Try having students create a Twitter bio for a character. 


  1. I love the repetition in here...and I hope you write more about T! I love the paradox of his declarations.

  2. T sounds utterly charming - from his braggadocio announcement to his emphatic "I'm shy".

  3. I love the idea of presenting their twitter bio--wish I had found this idea a year ago :)

  4. This is so fascinating. I see one of my sons in "T" - there is a divide between what he sees/knows about himself ("shy") and what others see - "We are charmed by T's friendliness, by his sincerity, by his vulnerability, by his honesty, and by his shyness." [loved that line!] Such an interesting thing to think about. The Twitter bio assignment is right on, very provocative! Love this!