One of my biggest fears is public speaking. I know, I'm a teacher, so how can I be afraid to speak in front of a group of people when I do it every day? In fact, I have six classes a day that I prepare presentations and demonstrations for with around 25 students per class. In class, in front of my students it's different though. I'm not trying to demonstrate how informed I am on a subject. I'm not trying to impress anyone. All I'm trying to do is help my students learn math. I am trying to help them learn how to think, how to problem solve. I am trying to help them dissect the information they are given and solve the problem at hand.
And really speaking in front of my class of students is different because I'm not just presenting or lecturing to them. I am creating a dialogue, a discussion. I want them to have enough information to question, discuss with one another, to clarify each other's thoughts, and to help them teach each other. In my classroom there's a lot more student talking going on than there is me talking. To me public speaking means talking in front of a crowd while they listen, it's not a back and forth thing. So my classroom is way different than public speaking.
I use to get so nervous that I would forget everything I was suppose to say and then I would end up reading completely from my note cards. While it is one of my biggest fears and trust me I am horrible at it, I have gotten somewhat better at it. In the past few years, I have put myself out there several times to present before my peers. I have lead meetings at my school and attended a few conferences that I have presented at. For me there are a couple of things that I have to keep in mind. First, I have to be prepared and I mean really know the topic at hand. Second, if something isn't working you need to be flexible and switch it up. You know the topic so go somewhere else with it. And I just try to remember to be me. I'm not all serious and businesslike. I have a personality and I try to inject some of that into my public speaking.
So, how do you feel about public speaking? Is it one of your biggest fears? What are your tips?