Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Speaking in School

Teachers always love to pick on the poor little shy kid in the corner. Always. Even when these shy kids are alert and clearly listening to what the teacher is saying (or to their other classmates, in some cases). Now I'm sure that these teachers will come back and say it's for their own good blah, blah, blah. Something about "not being a passive learner" or whatever.

However, what teachers don't seem to realize/ remember is this. Usually the shy kid doesn't raise their hand for the following reasons: they A) don't know it or B) know it but are terrified to say something usually because they aren't entirely sure or don't want to be seen as a total geek or know-it-all by the other classmates. Either will make answering the question embarassing for them.

Lately I've been that poor little shy kid. It isn't just in Math, but in English too (obviously you might be able to figure out the standard reasons for both by the information I've given above but it's not always the case for either).

This problem seemed to have first appeared about last year or so and it's only been getting worse. High school has been a lot better in everything but this regard (oh and the anxiety and the stress I so stupidly put on myself. That's been getting worse, too but I've always been a spaz.).

Actually there are times I do force myself to speak up (usually in English and Social Studies) because I really do have something to say and I really want to say it (and prove that I'm not just sitting there like a bump on a log and that I really do have some decent ideas).

It's just that whenever I do speak in class, forced or otherwise, I sound like a complete idiot. Really I do. I feel like everyone is staring at me. My throat closes up, my heart beats super-fast and I somehow struggle to form a response with a tongue that morphs into a flapping, dried-up, super-heavy external organ. Sometimes I wish I was mute so I would have to write everything down instead because (in my logical state, I realize the downside of being mute of course). I can't stop yelling at myself afterwards.

This happened to me in English in this "informal seminar" discussing the short story we were assigned to finish reading. English, the class where I'm supposed to feel most comfortable. I mean I knew and understood the story and I think I had good ideas to offer up. It just didn't sound like it.

On the bright side, it seemed like most of those kids were nervous too and they barely noticed me. But still... I can't help but agonize over it.

It also happened in Math too when I got this super-simple problem wrong because I missed the division symbol, which was in the middle of the problem (damn PEMDAS for making a simple-looking problem so freaking confusing). My teacher there made me go up because I was one of the few who hadn't done so then. I wasn't the first to get a problem wrong but still... I felt like they were all smirking at me and thinking, "Tori is so stupid."

It's just something I really need to work on. You don't get anywhere in life if you just sit at the sidelines and refuse to do things out of your comfort zone. Maybe it'll be something that will get better in time (I mean talking's nothing compared to presenting, which I know I'll have to do soon enough).

To any teachers out there if any so happen to be reading this (which I doubt), please don't feel like you have to pick the shy kid in the back of the room. Let the shy kid raise their hand in due time.

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