Spirited Speech Masters and Dan Rex honoring MD Anderson and Shibu Varghese

Grammar: Subjunctive Mood

In the English language, mood refers to the quality of a verb that conveys the writer’s (or speaker’s) attitude toward a subject. It can also be referred to as mode or modality. There are three major moods:

  • The indicative mood is used to make factual or declarative statements, such as “I leave at noon” or to pose questions, such as “Are you arriving soon?”
  • The imperative mood is used to express a request or issue a command, such as “Drive me to the store.”
  • The subjunctive mood is used to express a wish, hypothetical, doubt, or anything contrary to fact; such as “I wish I were a little bit taller.”

The past subjunctive mood is sometimes referred to as the “were-subjunctive” and is most easily recognizable as using the word “were,” usually in combination with “if” or “though.” Observe the difference between “was” (indicative) and “were” (subjunctive) in the following sentence:

[Her eye] was prominent, and showed a great deal of the white, and looked as steadily, as unwinkingly, at you as if it were a steel ball soldered in her head.

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849

And here’s a great video from Learn English with Papa Teach Me that teaches about the subjunctive mood in a fun and entertaining way:

Want more? Click here to read more about the major and minor moods in the English language!

08.08.2019 Weekly Window

During this week’s meeting Jonathan delivered a speech entitled “Flustered” in which he spoke about dealing with life when things don’t go according to plan. Asad spoke about how to achieve happiness, emphasizing the importance of developing human connections through active listening and “tell me more.”

Maxine served as Table Topics Master this week, prompting volunteers to finish the story beginning with “I have bats in my attic…” Karl convincingly constructed an entire ecosystem of interdependent organisms that must also be living in his attic to sustain an apex predator like the common bat, while Joann gave a dramatic performance in response to her terror that the bats in her attic might be the kind that feast upon blood.

  • Best Speaker: Asad
  • Best Table Topic: Joann
  • Best Evaluator: Loni
  • Word of the Day: alacrity

Completing Projects and Levels in Pathways

VPE Corner written on a chalkboard

We have started a new Toastmasters year (July-June) with new officers and a new set of goals for the year.  This year, I am serving as the Vice President of Education, and we have all of our members working with Pathways.  My personal goal is to help everyone understand Pathways better and to enable everyone to get around in the system.  Many people, including myself, have challenges with the Base Camp system.  Today, I want to share the “process” for completing a project in a Pathways “Level.”

Process for Completing a Project

  1. Launch your project in Base Camp by clicking the Launch button.
  2. Read every page in the project.
    1. Review the Project Checklist and read Your Assignment.
    2. Complete the Self-Evaluation at the beginning.
  3. Every project has one or more speeches associated with it.
  4. Select a date and sign up for your speech on our chapter’s web site! Be sure to fill in the Path and Project information.
  5. Print your project-specific evaluation form and bring it to the meeting.
  6. I would recommend that you also download and save the Print My Project and any other documentation from the project for future reference.
  7. After your speech:  SAVE YOUR EVALUATION FORM!
    You may scan and upload documents into the My Feedback section.
  8. Complete your Self-Evaluation at the end and submit to complete your project.

Process for Completing a Level

  1. Once you have completed all the projects in a level, click on the Level Completion project to send a request to the VPE to approve.
  2. In addition, please fill out the Pathways Level Completion Verification (PDF), (also downloadable from the Downloads section of this website).
  3. Print, fill out, and scan this document along with copies of all your evaluations.
  4. Send to the VPE to validate your approval.

Starting in September, I hope to do a series of speeches on “Getting Started” in Toastmasters as well as Pathways.  Look forward to more information in the VPE Corner, hopefully monthly at a minimum!

Fall 2019 Toastmasters Leadership Institute

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my first TLI — Toastmasters Leadership Institute — a three-hour workshop to orient chapter officers within their specific roles. The facilities at MD Anderson were spacious and comfortable, and I was grateful for the coffee and assortment of breakfast options that were provided by TLI. District 56 Director Kathy Kest provided a superb example of acknowledgement versus recognition during her opening statement, wherein she recognized two gentlemen who had gone above and beyond to help resolve an unanticipated issue with parking.

The TLI leadership team ran individual breakout sessions for each role, exemplifying servant leadership by generously sharing their expertise. They each helped attendees understand how we can help our chapters grow by fulfilling our individual officer roles. As the VP of Public Relations for Spirited Speech Masters, I attended the VPPR session lead by Rhonda Reeves, Director of Division M and the VPPR for Exxon-Mobile’s Innovators chapter. She presented a clever acronym she uses to represent the aims of a VPPR:

  • Promote
  • Raise Awareness
  • Attract Members
  • Increase Membership
  • Sustain the Brand
  • Engage the Community

The room of VPPRs was then divided into groups of four, and each group was charged with determining the How, When, Who, and What of our assigned aim. This style of self-generated content and learning was extremely effective, not only because it helped us to think through what we already knew (or could figure out together) but because we were getting to know one another better. I know I made a couple of connections I hope to have the opportunity to develop further.

Overall, I felt like I learned a lot, both about my role as VPPR and about Toastmasters in general (as a new-ish member, I was particularly grateful for the temporary embargo on Toastmasters acronyms). I would recommend TLI to any new officer, and hope to have the opportunity to attend the TLI in the Spring with even more of my fellow Spirited Speech Masters!

Area Q54 Council meeting, immediately following Saturday’s TLI
L to R: Sally Boyd, Joann Hester, Patricia Koch, and Diane Nino

Project: Role Nameplates

In Spirited Speech Masters’ weekly meetings, we use nameplates for two purposes:

  1. To identify members who are fulfilling a specific role and
  2. To allow members to quickly identify and claim unfilled roles before we convene.

We previously used sheets of printed card stock folded so that they would sit upright, but over time and much use, these nameplates became worn around the edges.

A few of our assembled nameplates, printed in Blue

To create something more colorful and long-lasting, we invested $35 of club funds into a set of acrylic nameplate holders (8.5-inches wide x 3.5-inches high) and designed nameplates in Toastmasters-appropriate colors to slip inside. In case there are any other Toastmasters chapters that are interested in an inexpensive and easy project to add polish to their meetings, I’m sharing the size-appropriate PDFs for these nameplates: