I used to be an English teacher. Back in those days, I would get nervous for the first day of classes; but on a day-to-day basis, I didn’t think too much about speaking in front of a group of people. If you have to do it that often, you don’t have time or emotional energy to spare on getting nervous—you just do it.
I’m out of practice, though. The past four years, I haven’t been teaching. I’ve been working in administrative support in schools. So, yesterday, when I had to speak in front of the whole school during morning meeting, I had jitters, serious jitters. I could feel my heart pumping. I could feel my throat getting dry. I got a headache the night before. Theoretically, I knew I could do it, but I also knew I was four years out of practice, so I was worried I’d choke.
Of course, I didn’t do my nervous self any favors. First of all, I am not one of those people who can memorize a speech or just read off a piece of paper. I don’t like creating PowerPoint presentations in which the text is there on the screen and all I do is read it verbatim to the audience. Frankly, I don’t even like notecards. I did do a mock write-up, but I strayed from that significantly during my talk. That was a brainstorm more than anything. I like being extemporaneous… I guess that’s the problem I’ve created for myself.
In the end, though, I managed to pull it off. I’m no Obama, but I didn’t freeze up or lose words. I somehow got through all my points and said Um maybe only five or six times (instead of fifty times). I’m glad I got a chance to speak to the school. Thank God that’s over with, though!