I was the kid who tried to make herself small in the classroom, and rarely raised my hand. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, or that I didn’t know the answer to what was being asked. I simply got stage fright, and was convinced that once all eyes were on me, I would choke and nothing intelligible would emerge from my mouth. You would think, with the same kids in my class from first through sixth grade-I attended a small parochial grammar school-that I would loosen up a bit.
But even much later, as a college undergraduate, I would rather hide in a crowd of two hundred students crammed into a huge lecture hall than sit in the front row of an English section and be put on the spot. I studied math and science largely due to the fact that I didn’t have to share my thoughts and feelings in public, at least not very often. I may be one of the few people in education who was not required to take a public speaking course, although I’m sure it would have been helpful.
I became a teacher, and eventually adjusted to my role in the front of the room. I started out slow, with small classes, and ended up in a middle school teaching math to thirty plus kids every period all day long. I got used to it, and learned to enjoy the dynamic of a large group of ever-changing and always interesting adolescents.
So now I am putting myself out there again, sharing my private thoughts on the World Wide Web. There’s nothing like a new challenge to keep things fresh, even if it’s a little scary!