My Teacher Embarrassed me During my Speech

But it caused me to do something unexpected.

When I was in college I had to give a speech in a sociology class about Rosa Parks. The teacher was kind of intense, and I wasn’t really that good at giving compelling speeches at that point.

So I wrote the speech, and practiced it a couple times. The next day in class, other students gave their speeches about other historical figures that had shaped the world. Finally, my name was called, and I took my sheet of paper and brought it to the podium. I began reading off of my sheet and 2 sentences in the teacher said “STOP! — this isn’t going to work. You need to memorize your whole speech. Go practice outside of the classroom and come back when you’re ready.”

I was really embarrassed to be called out like that in front of the whole class. I tucked my tail between my legs and went into the hallway. Nervously, I practiced my speech while others were giving theirs in the classroom. I was embarrassed about being called out like that, but also starting to get mad about the way she did it. I couldn’t go back in like that to give a half-assed speech.

Finally the class ended and a friend of mine came out to talk to me. He could sense that I was embarrassed. He told me the teacher would let me present at the next class with the others who didn’t get to present.

So I took this opportunity to practice my speech and even tweak it to make it powerful. I memorized it and came back to class more ready than ever.

In my speech, the first part was kind of calm and slow, talking about Rosa Parks’ character, how she was kind and calm, but still had beliefs she stood for. Then I became the cold hearted, mean bus driver. I re-enacted the famous scene where he yells at her to get off the bus.

I jumped up on the first row of desks, then walked across 2 more rows, into the middle of the class where my teacher was and yelled at her

“Get to the back of the bus!”

She was startled, and everyone in the class was in shock. I jumped back to the front of the class and finished my speech.

I felt good, and feel like I stood up for myself. Some of the other students after class told me how great that was. It was totally unexpected.

The good news is that teacher and I had many more classes together and some great open discussions. More importantly, I don’t have a fear of giving speeches at all anymore. In fact, I love giving speeches, especially at weddings. If I hadn’t been called out, I might have never learned to grow.