Don’t hate if I don’t participate

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I used to be pretty shy in the majority of my classes. In most other situations, I am extremely social. I love meeting new people and making new friends.  For some reason when it came down to participating in classes, I found it extremely difficult to get myself to do the same.

There’s nothing that frustrates me more than forced participation.  In my eyes, if my hand is not raised, I clearly have nothing of substance to say.

I don’t see the point in forcing a student to ramble about something that doesn’t really make sense as opposed to just letting them listen.

  I’m all for teachers calling on students who don’t seem like they are paying attention, but other than that, what harm would come from just letting them sit there?   

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with participation. I either actively participate in a class, or I don’t participate at all. There’s no in between.   

There’s a significant difference between calling on students just because they have not said anything the whole class period, as opposed to choosing students who do not have their hand raised, but the teacher knows they probably have something great to say.

Freshman year, nothing made me more uncomfortable than having to present in front of the whole class.

I remember in my world history class we had a huge presentation at the end of the year.

I did not sleep at all the night before because of how nervous I was.  During the majority of my presentations my heart was racing and my palms were sweating like no other.  It was even difficult for me to speak coherently.

To be able to feel more comfortable talking in front of my peers, I decided to sign myself up for a public speaking class.

Sophomore year rolled around and it was finally time to face my fears.  It was time to go to a class once a day that would force me to participate and learn how to become a better speaker.

The problem that arose was that now I was scared of going to my public speaking class.  I loved the teacher and the idea of the class. Unfortunately, every time I had to present I found a way out of it, and even went as far as staying home.

I finally realized that even if I didn’t show up the day I was initially scheduled to present, I would still eventually have to.

The more speeches I gave, the more comfortable I felt and the fear began to subside.

I would highly recommend trying out a public speaking class. It has, without a doubt, helped me become a better speaker.

Junior year was great in the sense that none of my teachers forced me to participate.  The problem, though, was that I rarely spoke in any of my classes besides English.

I am now in an English class called Great Books.  Participation is worth about 40 percent of our final grade.  I took this class for the precise reason of hoping that it would push me out of my comfort zone.

And that it did.

At the beginning of the year, I was pretty intimidated by my peers because everyone had such thorough responses in the discussions.

Now it is honestly one of my favorite classes. I’ve learned not to doubt myself, and sometimes just speaking your mind is all that it takes to be more comfortable participating.

Don’t let your own fears determine whether or not you will pursue an interest of yours.  I’ve always wanted to take a public speaking class, even though I hated speaking in front of groups.

Great Books seemed like a spectacular class unlike any I have ever taken before.  Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a great thing, and it can help you discover interests that you never even thought you had.

In some situations, you are the only person holding yourself back from reaching your full potential.

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