As the final task of my clinical fellowship, I have to give a staff “in-service” presentation tomorrow.  I don’t have stage fright, performance anxiety, or fears of having my skirt tucked into my underwear.  I’m sure no more than 8 people will actually show up.  My supervisor asked on Friday, “So, do people know you’re doing the presentation on Monday?”  To which I replied, “It was on the calendar.”  I didn’t pass around a memo or anything.  It’s already been rescheduled from May 19th because no one was going to be in the office, even though I’d put it on the calendar in February.  So, no, “being on the calendar” is no guarantee of anything.  Yet I’m not looking forward to it, whether I have an audience of 2 or 20. 

I dislike these contrived presentations.  We did many of them in grad school, as a way of spreading out the work, so no one had to read more than one article, yet we were all expected to pay such close attention so as to absorb the information in all 31 presentations.  Always with the powerpoints.  Even better with the handouts.  Then you didn’t have to write anything down or pay attention.  The notes were all there, and you didn’t have to prepare for class, so it was great all around.  I still disliked it.  I knew that no matter what I did, it was going to suck.  No one would care.  “Just don’t put us to sleep, and don’t go on too long.”  As long as they’re required to attend, and since I’m no motivational speaker or Michelle Obama, no one is really going to pay attention.  The same goes for tomorrow.  I tried to pick a topic that would have some bearing on their work — English language acquisition in second language learners.  I tried to keep it relevant, but I have no delusions about it being interesting.  It won’t be.  It’s barely interactive.  I have no Far Side cartoons.  Heck, I don’t even have a projector.  It’ll just be me with notes in front of the staff in the staff lounge, bribing people to show up with brownies. 

Oh, yes, that was the other thing, I was told people will expect to be fed.  If I don’t bring food, they might not show up.  And then this’ll all get prolonged further and further, spreading the dread across the summer. But there will be brownies, which Mr. Apron and I made Friday night.  And they will be fed, into a chocolate-laced, post-lunch sugar coma, with expressions of food joy on their faces, which I may choose to believe is my audience hanging on my every word.

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