Last year’s Miss Universe pageant sent the world abuzz with the announcement mishap that played with the emotions of die-hard fans and casual supporters alike. For the unaware, host Steve Harvey first announced Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutierrez) was the winner. After having presented the crown and sash however, Steve went back to the stage to apologize for misreading the cue card, revealing that Miss Philippines (Pia Wurtzbach) was the real winner.
Just recently he decided to give us a bigger shock, having been invited by the administration to be a visiting professor in La Salle this term. The 59-year-old currently hosts a number of shows, and because of his experience, was invited to teach the course Oral Communication/Advanced Speech (SPEECOM). During a phone interview, Mr. Harvey says of his latest stint, “This is a really new experience for me, and I think this would be a good opportunity to immerse myself in Filipino culture. After meeting Miss Universe, I really wanted to know [the Filipino] culture better.”
It was one of those classes that didn’t have a professor stated in the EAF, so of course, the students who enrolled in SPEECOM C34 didn’t know who or what to expect.
Mr. Steve Harvey, according to many of his students, did surprisingly well on his first day of teaching. “At first, I didn’t think anything seemed off,” Harriet Planter (II, LIM) recounts. “We had quite a normal first day. We had introductions and all the normal things professors usually do for the first day. But when he promised us that he would ‘find a better venue to teach the required curriculum’, I was a bit confused. What was wrong with our classroom? It was big enough for all of us and had a functioning computer.”
Other students also had their suspicions. “He called on me one time to ask me what I expected to learn from this class,” Perry Jaclyn (II, FIN) recalls. “When I told him I expected to develop great conversational skills, his exact words were, ‘Is that really in the subject matter?’ He looked so surprised. Guess I know why now.”
“He asked us all why we weren’t wearing proper attire, and then told us he would only permit it for the first day,” Isabella Sparrow (III, MGT) said. “I thought he was joking. I didn’t know whether SPEECOM required us to wear something or not. I thought he was going to make us wear corporate attire, but he told us—and I’m not kidding, mind you—that we needed to wear white shirt and shorts or jogging pants. What was he thinking?”
The students, however, had a less-than-pleasant surprise when they turned up for their second SPEECOM class with Professor Harvey. They were promptly informed via a note, which their professor had left in their old classroom, that they would be transferring to the 8th floor of the Razon building. “Who in their right mind would transfer their SPEECOM class to the Razon building?” Harriet asks.
Things got weirder and weirder. Professor Harvey arrived wearing the full coach’s outfit, holding a clipboard and forcing everyone to do warm up exercises. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Catniss* (II, IBS) said morosely. “It was the most confusing one hour and thirty minutes of my life.”
And Steve Harvey’s only response after learning the truth, ten minutes before their disastrous second meeting would end? “I’m so sorry, folks. I apologize. The real subject I was supposed to teach you was SPEECOM. Not FTSPORT. It’s right here in the EAF. Don’t blame the admin, folks, it’s still a nice term!”
History repeats itself
After issuing an apology and speaking to the department chair, Professor Harvey was told that he would still be teaching the course, now following the right curriculum. Some of the professors from the department were aghast with what happened, but in the end they had a good laugh about it.
Even though they were initially a bit irritated, the students of SPEECOM C34 took all this lightheartedly after everything was sorted out. “I actually look forward to the next meeting. Good thing it was fixed before midterms, I was already planning to drop after the past two meetings,” Isabella shares.
When asked how he plans to make it up to his students, Professor Harvey shares with a wink, “I might try to make the recitations Family Feud style.”
Are there any other concerns? Perry opens up, “Actually, I’m a little worried about the grades. I absolutely bombed the first presentation but Sir says I received a 4.0. Meanwhile, my best friend did incredible and received a 1.0. Does Sir Harvey know how the grading system works?”
Today, everything is well once again, and Professor Harvey’s class is no different from any other. His students answer homework, have lectures, and deliver presentations like other typical SPEECOM class. They may have had a particularly rough start, but his students are willing to give the guest professor a shot at redeeming himself. Beatris Fryer (III, BSA) shares, “Hey, he’s not so bad. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s when you make the same stupid mistake more than once that you—oh wait.”
The misunderstanding was resolved, and the students under Professor Harvey seem genuinely content with their teacher. At least, until grades are released.
* Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.