Are you willing to risk your child’s future?
What a horrible question to any parent! No one is going to say yes to that.
But we are surrounded by that exact message all the time. We’re almost immune to the threat, thanks to the click-bait headlines.
- Baby sleeping positions.
- Organic Foods.
- College prep classes.
From the moment your child is born, you are thinking about their future, even it’s “When is bedtime?”
So why did I title this “The Most Dangerous Class Your Student Must Take?” Am I being hypocritical by calling out the click-bait headlines when I use one myself?
But I do believe that the most dangerous class a student can take is the one that opens the world to them – with all its glories and its ghettos.
The Power of Speech
I jokingly jab at my friend Brenda Weisel about her literature class. Tone in literature. Really? That’s a thing? I probably learned that back in high school or college, but I cannot with any certainty say what it is. I can say that it’s never meant anything in my life. It’s had no impact. Even as a writer, don’t ask me to identify the tone in my own work, because I don’t have a clue.
I pretty much feel the same way about most algebra. Geometry is important. Find X? If it’s not on the keyboard between Z and C, I’m lost.
But I took Speech in high school. It changed my life.
Overcoming Stage Fright
No one has ever done a survey that says the number one fear is public speaking. That myth has hung around a long time. It is a primary fear however, and in our society, it’s a huge drawback.
Once a person has learned their personal response to stage fright, then public speaking becomes a matter of mastering the tools of preparing and delivering a speech. These skills take time and experience on the podium with an audience of strangers.
Mom and Dad (and Grandma) don’t count.
When a student discovers
- their body’s reaction to stress
- the ways to redirect that energy
- the tools of rhetoric
- the fun of giving a speech
stage fright loses its grip on their voice. Then watch out!
The Danger of Public Speaking
Teaching speech to a teenager is exactly the same as giving the newly-licensed driver the keys to the car.
You’re giving them a big tool that can do a lot of damage – or build a world.
Public speaking has influence. When you speak, people listen. They think of you as a leader. You have a power over others.
That’s why we will concentrate on leadership skills as well as public speaking skills in this class. By incorporating them into our curriculum, we help the students find their way onto the path of leadership. We use the Youth Leadership Program by Toastmasters International as a way to introduce the techniques of meeting organization and management, as well as offering the students the chance to take charge – with the responsibilities that come along with leadership. And we have a party at the end. That’s not dangerous… is it?
Give a person a fish, feed them for a day.
Teach a person to fish, feed them for a lifetime.
Teach a person to speak, feed people for the ages.
I believe this. We have incredible power with words to change the world. We owe it to our children to help them learn this power and to use it wisely.
Welcome to Speech Class!
I hope you will consider speech class for your student. It’s the skill that will benefit them for a lifetime. As our society moves into the Age of Communication, your student will be prepared and hopefully a bit more responsible because of the time that they will spend in the class with us. The power of words, the responsibility of leadership and ultimately, the joy of communication is my goal for each student. I want your student to have that too.
And if they learn how to persuade you… That’s my goal too. You’re the one who’s going to have to deal with their arguments to paint their bedroom or help them get a job or get a lizard. Yes, that happened last year. (A lizard?)
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me: Speechteacher.firstname.lastname@example.org
- No text. The Youth Leadership Program materials are supplied by Toastmasters at no charge.
- Notebook for notes.
- Access to Youtube videos. At the library is fine, but papers will be written evaluating historic and contemporary speeches. Analyses should be submitted in person on paper, typewritten. Handwritten papers will not be accepted this year.
The class is open to all students in 7th grade and above. Parents and guests are welcome to visit the class on presentation days.
This website has the material used in the 2016-17 year. These will be modified for this year’s schedule.
There are likely to be two weeks where I will have to be out of the state for family commitments. Classes will be held anyway with substitutes who will have timing cards and bells and won’t be afraid to use them.