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15 Things We’ve Forgotten To Thank Our Teachers For

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15 Things We’ve Forgotten To Thank Our Teachers For

Teachers have superhuman qualities. They’re tolerant, patient, loving, encouraging, forgiving, supportive, kind, warm, generous, and painfully honest, among other things. They forfeit family activities, personal free time, friends, hobbies, and, in many cases, their mental well being to willingly bend over backwards for their kids. They’ve made some of the most lasting impacts on our lives, and always did something extra special to make their class the one we looked forward to. They cheered the loudest at the pep rallies and are quick to give up their own penny to buy extra art supplies when the district cuts the program entirely.

Teachers are superheroes that don’t need shiny capes or fancy leotards. (Let’s be honest, their outfits are way better anyway.)

Sadly, they aren’t as celebrated as professional athletes, movie stars, or famous politicians. They don’t get fat paychecks and sign autographs for endearing fans. Their driveways aren’t flooded with paparazzi, and their faces aren’t on headline scandals of U.S. Weekly.

They are, however, much more than any of that. It’s time we recognized and thanked them for the invaluable lessons they taught us both in and out of the classroom. Here’s 15 things we’ve forgotten to thank our teachers for, but it’s never too late to do so.

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1. Thanks for teaching us how to share with one another.

Mousetrap, floor poppers, K’nex, and Koosh Balls are rad, but they’re way more fun with someone to enjoy them with. As much as we hated to let others join back then, we’re thankful for the friendships we made from sharing now.

2. Thanks for running after school programs, coaching, and grading papers every night, all while maintaining a “life of your own.”

The majority of you are soccer coaches, running the forensics team, or cheerleading the loudest at the football game against crosstown rivals. Starting and ending bells don’t mean a thing to you.

3. Thanks for giving us candy for subtle wins in academics, because it’s a proven fact that teacher candy is the tastiest.

The reward of getting an answer right is just as rewarding for the student as the teacher who watches the spark. Throw candy in the mix? Yowza.

4. Thanks for making us realize we were good at something we once thought we sucked at.

That Snoopy cartoon you made us draw that we thought would look like the bird poop splattered on dad’s front hood but turned out so good it made Charles Schultz jealous? That’s all you, teach.

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5. Thanks for putting your life outside the classroom on hold for 9 hours a day and putting a smile on instead.

Many of us struggle to balance our personal drama with our desk job. Try doing that with 20-40 button pushing kids all day. Talk about resolve.

6. Thanks for dealing with an education system that isn’t always fair, and sticking up for us when your bosses don’t.

Anyone with a “real world” job knows that crud flows down the structural pyramid fast, so to speak. When state and city mandated budget cuts force outdated books, or the cutting of a program, teachers are normally the first ones to stand up in protest.

7. Thanks for giving us accurate and speedy feedback on our progress, or lack thereof.

“Days off” are two words a lot of teachers aren’t familiar with. Have you ever stopped to consider how many of you there are in a classroom and how badly our teachers want to see all of those you’s succeed?

8. Thanks for providing fair and honest discipline.

Being the infamous jerk teacher isn’t something any teacher strives to be. Keeping rule and authority in the classroom is a tricky playing field. I can’t begin to image how many times teachers must be asked, ‘Can I have my phone back?’ nowadays.

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9. Thanks for loving your job despite horrendous pay.

Let’s not dance around it, they should be paid tons more for what they do. Period.

10. Thanks for making our imaginations stretch.

Giving open ended, your-choice-of-subject-matter type of assignments to keep things fresh works wonders for us kids. Thank you for giving us the academic freedom to explore our creative interests during school time.

11. Thanks for staying up with pop culture and cracking jokes about it even though it usually makes you look lame.

I once saw a teacher try to Walk it Out, and I’ll never forget it.

12. Thanks for making your own holiday decorations and coating your classroom in it. You’re so crafty!

Teachers are ingenious when it comes to this. If their curriculum can’t handle that kind of free time during November and December, they’ll spend late nights with hot cocoa carving construction paper snowflakes.

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13. Thanks for putting us over you.

They offer kids a ride home when their parents forgot them after practice. They sit with a kid who missed the late school bus home after tutoring. They willingly pay for the kids meal who can’t afford cafeteria hot lunch. They always put our individual interests and happiness over their own. Always.

14. Thanks for believing in us.

Remember when you were so frustrated by math that you went to your teacher after school nearly in tears, and the two of you tackled long division together? Or how about the time you found out you were dyslexic and your teacher sat with you reading every word of an entire chapter during their lunch time? If there’s one thing you’ll never see a teacher do, it’s give up on a student in their class. Not a single one.

15. Thanks for changing our lives forever.

We easily forget all the things you’ve done for us, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until we’re older. Please understand that even though we don’t say it as much as we should, what you do and what you’ve done for us can’t be reciprocated, faked, or given by anyone else.

You’ve always been our heros, and you always will be. To put it the only way we know how:

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Child Note

    Featured photo credit: Stanley Kubrick / Girl in Classroom via upload.wikimedia.org

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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