Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?
When I first read this prompt last night, I was intrigued by the title. Of course my mind went to that naughty place we all have inside of ourselves. I’m sure yours did too! Just admit it – this is a safe place.
After reading the description, I was all over this! Of course I’m comfortable with the idea of public speaking – I’m a teacher! However, then I started to think as I drifted off to sleep…. I’m actually really not all that comfortable with public speaking. It kind of shocked me how ironic it all was.
When I was in high school, I was in debate. I LOVED it. But I was only speaking in front of 10 people tops – including the other debaters. No one was allowed in the room, only the 4 debaters, a moderator/time keeper, and then 2-3 judges. Maybe a parent if everyone agreed to it. Even then, when I first stepped up to speak, my face would blush and internally I would be dying. Once I got comfortable, it was ok but that first few minutes were always death to me.
There has always been a part of me the dreads having to get up in front of people. My heart races, my face flushes, my hands start to get all sweaty. I have a mini-panic attack pretty much. Until I start speaking. Once I start speaking then I’m ok – the symptoms of my anxiety start to melt away into the background. Whether it is a group of my peers or more “adultier” adults, I always have these symptoms. Presentations are the best, since I just start all shaky and then compose myself within the first few minutes. After that, I’m on a roll and can finish and sit down. If it’s a participation thing with questions and interacting with others – it’s torture.
The only place where I can feel completely symptom free, is when I’m teaching. Put me in front of a group of opinionated, disrespectful 12 year olds and I am all good. Kindergarten class where I have to sing and dance and act crazy? Sure no problem! I have “5 green, speckled frogs” committed to memory with the accompanying actions! We are good to go! I have no problem making a fool of myself for the sake of a child’s learning. Add an extra adult in the room (TA, EA, ECE, fellow teacher just walking in for 3 seconds) and I break.
I can’t help but find the irony of it all. In a room of my peers who will judge me less harshly and who are old enough to act with some restraint, and more understanding, I freak out. But in a room full of children who haven’t built up their verbal filters yet, I am most at ease.