Friday, 3 June 2011

THE SELF-IMPORTANT MAN.

Know your audience. This maxim is what every public speaker needs to keep in mind. Since children have a limited attention span, this is especially true.

In Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I wrote about how our minders made us sit through a long speech before we went on a field trip. The following passages demonstrate what really mattered to us at the time.

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Another big event, from the adults' point of view, was the retirement of Mr. MacDonald. We were on the way to a class field trip one morning when our driver parked the bus next to the Administration Building. After approximately a half hour, the superintendent boarded the bus and stood next to the driver's seat. He made a long speech concerning how he served the school since 1934 and how much he would miss us. Then he announced that Mr. Bryce would be the superintendent in his place. Our new school principle would be a woman named Mrs. Corrigan, one of the few staff members who wore glasses and the only adult with auburn hair.

Mr. MacDonald's news astonished me. The possibility of a woman serving in such a position seemed bizarre. Men had always held those titles. Mr. MacDonald wrapped up his speech by telling us to be good and that he might come to visit from time to time. To our relief, he exited the bus and we continued on our way.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.