Horror Stories From Students

As I have mentioned, I am teaching again.

Just in case you are feeling sorry for yourself, I thought I would mention a few of my most recent students’ speeches to put your problems in perspective.

One course I teach (at a college) is Verbal Communications (aka Speech class).

A few speeches recently given:

“I grew up having my father beat me and throw me out of the house when I was 15 - I lived on the streets and had to start from scratch.”

“My mother died of cancer and my father is currently serving in Iraq.”

“I screwed up several times, did time in prison but now have a baby girl - but her mother won’t let me see my daughter and that is the only reason I have cleaned up my act.”

“I went to rehab twice. I am a cocaine addict and have beaten it…but I had to leave all of my friends and move here to get away from it.”

From an older student: “I was married 23 years and just recently filed for divorce and have a restraining order…and I am living with my daughter with my ex’s family, and I have a mother with Alzheimer’s and a job with no insurance.”

“My son has autism and my husband and I have to spend every cent we earn to pay for his day-care in a special school.”

Cheery speeches, eh? Mind you, I let them pick their topic.

Wow. Was I in your class? We had one girl get up and talk about how, while living in a large midwest city for a short time, had been given a date rape drug, woke up to this horrible pain in her crotch, and was partially restrained. Then, she got what she could find of her clothes, made it out of the guy’s apartment while he was on the toilet, went home, tired to figure out the pain, visited the hospital where they pulled out “3 or 4 D-cell batteries”. That was the moment that even I had to walk outside.

Never could figure out why she’d share such a horribly degrading moment with 30 strangers on day 4 of class.

Dang! :eek: I only have vague memories of my Speech class (circa 1973) but none of the presentations were even close to these. Maybe because it was an all-women private college and most of my classmates were from rather privileged backgrounds.

Not to be flippant, but that sounds more like the lineup for a season of Jerry Springer. Dang…


In my Speech and Presentation class (early '90’s), I gave a funny speech about a botched job interview in which, among other things, I called the female interviewer “Sir”, and my (ahem) thigh-high stockings underneath my college-girl interview suit began to slide down my legs when I stood up to leave. (I’d put them on inside out. Don’t ask, please don’t ask.) :o

Most of the other students in that class gave somewhat somber or humorous speeches; one guy brought the house down with a speech about his elderly Russian grandfather (I know, I know - but it was truly fantastic and brought the house down with raucous laughter. It was great.).

I don’t recall that anyone gave speeches about personally traumatic experiences; some were about overcoming personal hardship, but it was more general; e.g., my widowed mother raised me and my three sisters alone by working three jobs, I worked thirty hours and still graduated first in my high school class, paid my way through college, yadda yadda… that kind of thing.

Wow, that’s some lineup there. Yikes.

Doesn’t it make sense that it’s changed now, with our whole culture of victimization there seems to be a badge of pride some folks are looking for with who can tell the worse story. It’s as if their speech is pitiful enough, everyone will be so very impressed with their fortitude that nothing else will be expected out of them.

Teacher must go easy on me grade-wise after he hears what a horrific childhood I had, fr’ex.

You think people who have been raped etc. only talk about their experience as an attention-getting device to further themselves? Yeah, rape victims should just keep their mouths shut. :rolleyes: