The one thing I can always count on, whatever class I’m teaching, is that someone will be sick on speech day.
Today I had two students out with mysterious flu-like symptoms. (One, to his credit, eventually showed up even though he didn’t have his speech finished.) Another student left at lunch knowing she’d have to do her speech after lunch.
They will do them eventually (i.e. next week) but will have to do them a the beginning of class, not after lunch.
This happens more often in my high school classes at the school where I work. It happens enough that I’ve given it a Japanese name that translates as “Speech Day Influenza”.
The symptoms are sudden headaches that require trips to the nurses office; sudden stomachaches that require long trips to the toilet; or sudden disappearances before class that can’t be explained by friends.
There’s also a wave of memory loss that involves either forgetting the speech paper, which means it can no longer be studied for memorization, and the assumption that such forgetfulness constitutes immediate amnesty.
I expect that to happen tomorrow, too, as I have two classes that have yet to finish speeches. It might be the same as a plague zone.