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Recently one of my colleagues asked me if I could foresee a time when I would give up supervising teaching associates; she said it in a kindly way, but with a cringe and a shrug, as if to suggest that I was sacrificing my efforts on something beneath me…a departmental service. I’ve been coordinating our introductory public speaking course and supervising TAs for fourteen years now, and I still get this question.

Each time, I explain that giving up those responsibilities would be like asking someone to uproot their research passion from, say, performance studies to instructional communication, from any old this to any old that. The question implies that the work I do to nurture, sustain and strengthen the introductory course is a labor. I would contend that our work with the “basic” course is more a labor of love, but, as with all labors of love, we undervalue our efforts.



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