Today in my university's speech class I was required to give the sixth of my seven speeches for the semester. Now, this is my senior year -last semester- and there is a very good reason I waited to take this class til the very end.
I absolutely hate public speaking, and not just the kind of i hate this cause it's boring or dumb or forced upon. I hate it because I have an uncontrollable fear of it. Whenever the requirement to publicly address a group of people, friends, family or strangers arises my heart pounds, I sweat, my eyes get blurry, I am on the verge of a panic attack.
After I gave my speech today, while I was safely seated in the very last row in the room, I started to try to figure out just why I am so terrified of public speaking. Nothing ever happened to me during adolescence that would cause such a fear. That's it! Until my freshman year of high school, when I was 14 years, I had never had to participate in a public speech or presentation. Throughout the four years of high school I only had to do a presentation maybe once a year at that. During my senior year when I was 18 I had to take a speech class as a requirement. We only had to do four speeches and for one of them I skipped the class and avoided it, passing with a low C. When I started college I faced public speaking in every single class I took, sometimes more than once. I strongly believe that if public speaking instruction was enforced more often in elementary and middle schools that students would be better prepared and less fearful of it.
My Top Ten Reasons That Elementary and Middle School Students Should Experience Extensive Public Speaking:
1. Students will be more confident in themselves.
2. Students will be better prepared for high school and college courses.
3. Students will be better prepared for future jobs and careers.
4. Students will better their research methods.
5. Students will better their verbal, speaking skills.
6. Students will achieve a better vocabulary and better writing ability.
7. Students will be able to express themselves and understand others more effectively.
8. Students will become better listeners and have a better attention span.
9. Students will carry themselves better, have better body language and posture.
10. It will encourage a more expressive and interactive classroom experience.