Reflection On British Literature Class

Last year when I was asked to pick what literature class I was planning to take senior year, I was unsure of what to tell Ms. Demeo. I finally decided I was going to take speech for half the year and journalism for the other half. In my mind, I really saw no benefit for my future if I had picked AP literature or British literature or any other course that they offer. I signed up for speech because my whole life I have struggled with getting out there and talking in front of people. I lacked confidence in myself and I constantly had a fear of messing up in front of people. I took speech because I wanted to improve my speaking skills. When I get older I am planning to go into a field that is business related and I need to be able to communicate well with others.

On the first day of school when I walked into period 3 speech class my first reaction was “oh no, so many of these people are so outgoing and out there in the world and then there’s me”. I took my seat and the class started, we went over everything we would be covering/learning throughout the half-year course. I thought to myself “what are half those topics, we have to do them by memory in front of the whole class? I’m literally gonna fail this course”.

One of my biggest fears at the start of the class was definitely messing up or mispronouncing a word and getting laughed at. When we did the Poetry Out Loud Speeches, it opened my eyes and showed me what my strengths and weaknesses were when it came to public speaking. It was the first speech we did where we had to prepare ahead of time, I practiced my poem several times using several different strategies flawlessly but when it came to the moment I had to stand in front of everyone the fear and nerves took over. I froze up and completely forgot my poem, as I made more and more mistakes I became embarrassed and messed up even more afterward. After that experience, it occurred to me I can’t let my fears get the best of me. By having the memories in the back of my head, of how poorly this speech went, I knew I needed to build up more confidence and trust that no one would make fun of me. Always keeping this in my head helped me prepare better for the other speeches we did and have more trust in myself resulting in me growing and improving as a public speaker. Comparing myself and my speaking skills back to when the class started to now, my growth and skills have improved a tremendous amount. Some improvements I have made are being able to look around the room and not just up and down, no longer constantly using “um” and “like”, standing tall and confidently and no longer fidgeting with different things while speaking.

Overall I have grown tremendously with my public speaking skills but there is still room for improvement. A few things I need to work on are talking slower, talking a little quieter and not swaying back and forth while I am talking. I hope to achieve these goals over the years as I get older and continue to speak in front of people. The most helpful things from this class were the student critiques, video reflection and, teachers feedback. The student’s critiques were always very helpful and were straight to the point of things I do well and things I don't do well. They helped me learn and notice things I did while speaking which I had never realized previously. The videos were also very helpful but it was definitely weird hearing my voice. If it weren't for this class my speaking skills would never be where they are today. I never thought it was possible for me to could grow so much in such a short period of time.

10 October 2020
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