Much of my time this week was spent setting up guest speakers for the sixth grade class at Columbia. I’ve been working with this class since last fall, and had just talked with the teacher about involving the students in a local competitive writing project when he mentioned that he would sure like to have more guest speakers. Did I have any ideas? So that’s how it all started. Yes, I had a few ideas. I have friends I can call on that would be willing to speak to a group of inner city kids.
This is a sort of payback for all the guest speakers I had during my 21-year teaching career. Then I was fortunate to have a partner who ran the “speaker’s bureau” for our department. She did the heavy lifting–calling, pleading, setting dates and times. Our department secretary did the followup calls and mailed the thank you notes that the students wrote. I merely prepped the students, welcomed the guest, and oversaw the letter writing afterwards. Easy stuff compared to the work to set up these speakers.
Facebook messages, texts, and emails flew around all week as I was the go-between for teacher and speakers. I’m still waiting for one more response and we are all set. The first speaker will arrive at 8 on Tuesday morning. He will talk about what it takes to get to college and be successful.
Included in these negotiations was the one I had with the principal about “swag” to give the speakers as a token of our appreciation. Turns out, the school really doesn’t have anything with its name on it. They are working on that. She offered tee shirts with the school logo. Okay, that will work. I’m packaging the shirt with some swag from the Police department and candied nuts from Fresno State University.