Guest Speakers, Research, and Notebooks, Oh My!

Busy Monday. I don’t know about the rest of you, but we are back with a vengeance at my school. A vengeance.

I did manage to crawl out from under a pile of paperwork today to have a guest speaker in Sociology.

She is a social worker from a local group home. At first, I was nervous because, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never had a guest speaker before. I was afraid of mishaps…yawning, heads going down, phones coming out, inadvertently rude questions….

But it went well. Better than well, actually. The speaker was engaging and offered a real-world perspective that I cannot offer. The students paid attention and asked thoughtful questions at the end.

It made me wonder–why have I not had a guest speaker before? What have I been waiting for? I know I can’t offer my students everything they need to understand real-world applications of my subject. I’m only a teacher, after all, and that’s just about all I’ve ever done.

Honestly, I think I’m a little afraid of giving up control. What if the speaker is boring, or worse, the students are rude? But today made me realize that’s not fair to the students or the community. I don’t need to underestimate any of them, and how will they become productive citizens if they don’t connect to their community?

So, my challenge to myself–make connections, and have more guest speakers.

The students had to take a break from their research projects, which are quite a bit of fun, by the way. I’m going to discuss them in detail next week. They involve the students getting out into the school and conducting experiments and/or surveys. I’ll also offer the materials for you to make it happen in your sociology class.

Do you invite guest speakers into your classroom? Leave a comment below, and let me know how you work it out!

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