Once Again, With Clumsiness and Fear

All of us were kind of dazed. I probably showed the effects more than they did, though. They are a lot younger and care a lot less.

Today was the first day back at my Sunday job after a fortnight’s worth of holidays. Seven out of ten students showed up and I was pleased 1) that I remembered the names of the seven who showed and 2) that I remembered to show up.

The students worked hard, even though they were distracted by a speech that was scheduled for after lunch. (They went through the motions, but their hearts were full of dread for what was going to happen after lunch.)

In my case, it took me an hour or so to get my teaching legs and teaching rhythm back. (It’s not like falling off a bicycle, it takes some warming up. Something like that.)

Eventually speech time came and student confidence evaporated. Although there have been attempts to debunk/update the 1973 Book of Lists survey that ranked public speaking well above death as the number one fear, I still maintain that people fear the public humiliation of a speech more than they fear dying.

Aside: More current surveys offer a choice: Which of these do you fear most “being set on fire and having your eyeballs explode” or “public speaking”? When simply asked what they fear, I’ll bet most people still rank “public speaking” pretty high. 

After the speeches, I gave them an early break and then let them choose the final topics. (Long story.) It was a pretty good day in the end, especially as I didn’t have to give a speech, only mark them.

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