Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Success Story – Fish Stories, One of Success and Courage

While teaching a group of fourth graders, I gave them an opportunity to exercise their public speaking skills. The lesson was not on public speaking but on fresh and saltwater fish identification. As they were working in their activity book and were all engaged, I saw the opportunity for a parallel activity instead of having them just sit there quietly.  I invited the students to come to the front and tell a favorite fishing story, true or fictional.  Many raised their hands to participate and several did, some stories long and some just a few words such as, “My grandpa caught a shark!”   A young lady by the name of Eliza raised her hand and said she had a story.  When she accepted my invitation to come up front, she just stood there and stood there with a blank stare.  At that moment, her lower lip started to quiver, her eyes showed a look of fear and she bolted out of the classroom.

I was able to call her back into the classroom and calm her down.  I knew I had a teachable moment available to me, so I took advantage of it.  I then explained to the group that speaking in public is a fear most people experience, and it can be overcome with a little practice. Eliza then agreed to start again.  This time, every eye was on her, and every ear listening intently!  When she finished her story, all the children exploded in applause and kudos for her.  Eliza beamed with pride and accomplishment.  This will be a “fishing story” of courage that will probably have a lasting impact upon her and the group. – G. Koerner


According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. - Jerry Seinfeld

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