My daughter will soon be giving a certain talk at her school. She practiced her talk for us (her parents), and my husband commented "That's a great talk, but you sound angry."
My daughter said: But I thought you were supposed to sound angry when you give a talk.
Science Professor Dad: Why would you think that?
Daughter: Because that's how you sound when you give a talk, Dad.
[They check with me for confirmation or denial.]
FSP: It's true, you do.
In fact, he does, but in the case of giving a talk (e.g. at a conference or to a university audience), he doesn't care. In the case of teaching, however, this angry-sounding-speech thing has been a problem. If you sound angry when you teach, even if you don't feel angry, students will think you are unapproachable and that you don't like them or the material you are teaching. And then they will not like you, especially when filling out evaluation forms at the end of the term.
While teaching this term, my husband is trying very hard not to sound fierce or angry. He is teaching the usual material, but the difference is his tone of voice and his facial expressions. He used to grimace and glare, and now he effects a pleasant demeanor. He says that for the first time in 12+ years of teaching this class, he can sense a different feeling in the classroom. A friendly feeling.
6 months ago