Confessions of a Teacher!
Even though I stand up in front of 25 young adults every working day of my life, I admit to having a debilitating phobia : my fear of public speaking
To an extent, I have had to confront my fears in order to perform my job – and I had some terrifying moments in the past, especially at college where I had to teach in front of a class – and be observed by teaching assessors for my final exams.
I can hardly describe the wave of anxiety that overpowered me that day. Even though I knew my subject and had prepared really well, even though I was calm and composed about half an hour prior to the class, when my name was called, fingers of icy terror gripped my stomach and I could feel the blood rush to my face. Great. Now I was blushing, hot and flustered and my palms were sweating profusely just when I had to shake hands with the examiners. Both examiners had cool, dry palms and my perspiration must have been so obvious- I’m blushing even remembering it to this day!
So what’s going on? What is this physical sensation that takes me over and reduces a poised, professional adult to a hot, out-of-control teenager again!
I’ve read every article I could find on fear of speaking in public, and I can analyse it logically and acknowledge it as a phobia – an irrational fear. I’ve tried holding ice cubes, running cold water over my wrists, green foundation on my cheeks to neutralize the redness….
But I guess I know when anyone is nervous – we can sense the animal fear and fluster- and I am not fooled when anyone else tries to mask the symptoms.
I was explaining my fear of speaking in public to the Assistant Head Teacher, and I was taken aback when she shared that she had suffered from the same performance anxiety – to the extent that she had almost dropped out of college. Her panic attacks had started to take over her life and she obsessed about them every waking moment. The turning point came when she was offered a promotion – but the new post would involve addressing school assembly; not just 400 pupils, but also her peers, colleagues and the headmaster.
So how did she get over it? She discovered The 60 Second Panic Solution by Anna Gibson Steel. The method was straightforward and easy to pick up and, as the name suggests, it could be used quickly before any life experience, and, most importantly, could be relied upon to eradicate the irritating panic symptoms which distract you from giving your best performance.
In fact, it’s so effective and universal that it could mean an end to all fear of public speaking.