This is my response to week 1 of the ‘Uncourse’ #TDreflex14
I was planning for a presentation recently and practiced by recording my voice.
I spent a whole day persuading myself into it.
First I tried to read poetry out loud, then moved on to an essay I’d written, then finally started saying the words I wanted to practice.
At first I didn’t like the sound of my voice, but I was surprised at how quickly I slipped into just listening to the words and how they sounded.
Suddenly, I was fascinated by the difference between the words I’d written down and the words that made sense spoken.
The content was the same, but I couldn’t get the written words to make sense out loud.
I changed the whole thing, word by word.
I also crafted it so that it flowed.
So that I sounded confident. Almost authoritative.
I was surprised at how easy that was, with enough practice.
Then I performed my presentation for my mum.
She was first impressed, and then confused.
What I had done was crafted something that made me sound clever and confident, but was too complex to follow if you weren’t inside my own head.
I’d found a voice, and it was saying my words, but I don’t think it was my voice, and if it was it wasn’t very useful to anyone.
This sent me in a tailspin.
I didn’t want to ditch all that work I’d done, but I couldn’t bring myself to speak it again knowing it would do nothing but make me appear to know what I was talking about.
In the end I did ditch it. The work I’d done meant I knew the content enough to just talk about it. The talk was ok. I was faltering, could have been clearer but it was interesting and useful to some.
It pisses me off that I ‘seem nervous’ when I’m presenting to or teaching other adults.
Sometimes its because I’m attempting to articulate something I didn’t know had different words in spoken english than it did written down.
Sometimes its because I’m using up my bandwidth worrying about timekeeping.
Sometimes its because yeah, I’m a bit nervous.
Sometimes its because I think we need more silence in teaching, in the world.
Sometimes the panic fog comes down and I really am just struggling to get any words out at all.
Sometimes there is no identifiable reason.
I’m starting to think that the place I’m most nervous is the classroom. I don’t usually teach there.
I honestly can’t think of a time I’ve been problematically nervous teaching on an allotment, in the woods, on a campsite, in a workshop.
I’m still looking for my voice (at least one I can take into those learning boxes).
Nervous ellie doesn’t sound much like me.
Rehearsed, confident ellie certainly doesn’t.
Written ellie does sound like me.
I do want to find a spoken ellie that does sound like me, and I’m still working on that. Its an interesting project.
But for now, I feel lucky to have more than one means of communication at my fingertips, more than one place to be.
And at least I know what I’ll sound like when I hear it.