Speech to me!

Sophomore+Ali+Suhr+delivers+a+speech+in+Mr.+Arnold%27s+7th+period+class.++
Sophomore Ali Suhr delivers a speech in Mr. Arnold's 7th period class.

Sophomore Ali Suhr delivers a speech in Mr. Arnold's 7th period class.

Amanda Krajlic

Amanda Krajlic

Sophomore Ali Suhr delivers a speech in Mr. Arnold's 7th period class.

Amanda Prichard

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Deep breaths, you remind yourself. But you can barely hear your own thoughts over the pounding of your own heartbeat in your ears. Standing up shakily you make your way to the front of the classroom trying to subtly wipe the sweat off your palms.

“The title of my speech is,” you say quietly as you begin the first speech of the semester. And goodness is it going to be a long semester.

Most people at BHS dread going into their sophomore year because of one class: speech. Students prepare to hate it for a lot of different reasons.

Reason 1: actually writing the speeches.
A lot of kids don’t feel confident writing essays for their English classes as is, but adding another English-based class with a deep focus on writing something that can be performed is another pound of responsibility on kids’ shoulders. It is extremely difficult to be able to write in the way you will have to speak without losing professionalism. Later in the semester, students even have to get into persuasion, which can be even more difficult.

Reason 2: performing the speeches.
Getting up in front of your peers and speaking is difficult for anyone, but for some it’s the worst thing you could ask of them. It’s terrifying to look out at a crowd and see nothing but a sea of eyes. Some people write speeches that leave it all out there and most speech classes are a bunch of acquaintances, not friends.

Reason 3: not thinking it will help them in the future.
Some people just hate it before they even come close to taking it. They give up before they start because they don’t think there is any way they could need such a skill in the future. Giving up that early just leads to a lack of effort and bad grades that just further people’s hatred for the class.

Writing speeches isn’t that difficult when you have an outline. Use the examples given to see how to best structure your speech. Make sure you read what you’ve written out loud before you turn it in as your speech because having a written copy that flows well when spoken helps immensely. Getting up to perform the speeches you write isn’t nearly as bad as it feels. Self-doubt will turn uninterested, blank stares into judgmental, alert glares. Nobody in the class will really be listening to you except the teacher. Everyone else is too terrified about their own speeches to actually care about what you’re saying. After taking speech last semester, the only speeches I remember are the ones that were especially good. To make sure you feel confident about your speech, though, I have found that FaceTiming friends works best because they can give times and it doesn’t feel as awkward. And those who would rather not try are really blaming the wrong people for the grades they get. Ask yourself who was supposed to put the effort in and write and practice for the speeches, and you’ll find the real culprit. The reality is that speech helps in more ways than you realize, but only if you want to get better. It has to start with you.

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