And I’m already feeling nostalgic.

I’ve come to know so many of the people, the kids, the teens, the adults, the seniors. In each program there are a few people that have really stood out!

I look at the progress I’ve seen in the teenagers from the time they first started the public speaking program. I wonder if some teachers observing my techniques would have been shocked at the way I spoke to them. Bluntness, honesty, but praise too, when they had genuinely earned it.

When one of the teens was giving a powerpoint presentation he kept waving his arms after making each statement and when he was done, I asked the other two teens, who were part of the audience to give him critique. We always start by saying something they’re doing well. Sometimes that’s hard. ;p

But this time the teens said he was nice and loud. It was easy to hear him. And then, yup, one of them honed in on the hand motions. He said they were distracting. I asked the boy bluntly, why he was ‘flailing his arms around like that’? And he laughed, good naturedly. He knew intrinsically that I wasn’t insulting him. I was trying to help him.

And then I demonstrated what it looked like and he laughed again, he got my point. They’ve all learned so well that if they fiddle with their hands, if they sway side to side, if they tap their toes, all these things distract from what they’re trying to say. The audience will focus on their hands, or the way they’re swaying or the tapping of the toes. They need to guard their actions. They got it!

And then both he and the girl gave me testimonials, and in his he said how he’d taken other public speaking courses but mine was the best. He’d actually have paid to attend it. And that I’d helped him improve a lot. And the girl, oh my goodness, when she first came, she could barely speak loud enough to tell a story, she was so shy. But by the end she was vastly improved! And she said in her testimonial that I’d helped her more than I could know.

It really warms my heart.

And then there’s the lady who always dreamed of writing, who said I inspired her to go for it! When I was supposed to end the adult writing workshop sessions, I didn’t have the heart because darn it, I wanted to hear what she wrote next! So we continued the sessions!

I will miss her!

And the lady who was writing about the time she took a bus to Vancouver when she was 19.

And the seniors with their memoirs and their fascinating stories! So spirited! We explored the themes and patterns in their lives!

And the newcomers, teaching them how to manipulate the inflection in their voices so as to come across with more authority.

I’ll wrap up the residency on Saturday December 5th with a storytelling concert at 11 am and then the kids’ writing and public speaking workshops.

And those kids! Oh the fun we had with story creating!

In the past few sessions I took my oldest granddaughter.

I told a pretty funny story at the end of the session, to demonstrate something or another, and when I asked her how I did she said, “Well…you did make a couple of mistakes!”

Omigosh! She actually noticed where I’d stumbled on a word or two!

It was nothing! I swear it was nothing! The average audience wouldn’t even have noticed but she did.


I created a monster!