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Participating In Class

Currently I am in an advanced placement history class, and so there are only seven other students not counting me. Everyone in that class is very outspoken, not afraid at all to hold back their views and opinions. I, however, almost never speak at all. Because it's a small class, my shyness is more noticeable. I can't fade into the background when there are only seven other people in my class. I guess I have felt extremely ashamed and pathetic because I am the only one that doesn't participate. I have been trying to overcome my shyness for years, but I still experience a lot of anxiety when talking in front of groups of people. I feel very isolated and different in that class because my teacher jokes around with everyone and vice versa, and it's like I am an outsider watching the proceedings. Because I feel like I don't belong, my feelings of anxiety have heightened. I really want to start participating, but I'm afraid of everyone's reactions. It would be weird if I said something because I normally don't, and I don't want it to be a big deal. Sometimes I feel like my opinions and thoughts don't matter anyways. I'm also afraid I'll embarrass myself; there's a lot of pressure to be right considering it is an advanced class. Every day I pretty much dread going there for fear my teacher will call on me. It's so stressful. Any advice on how to get over my fear of participating in classes?

flyingintherain flyingintherain 18-21, F 9 Responses Dec 21, 2008

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Thank you so much, mellow93. An update for everyone: Though I still don't regularly participate, I am doing a lot better!!

Well, i know this story was posted awhile ago, and that you're probably in university now, but i think you're a very intelligent person.

Hmm, that is a good point Laila 1324. I will try to think that way next time. Thanks for your comment. :)

I can so recognize myself in what you're writing. Especially the part where you say that people would think you're weird to talk since you normally dont. I hate having the "shy stamp" on me. It makes it so much harder to start talking. One method i usually use to make me feel less nervous is to put myself in the people around me shoes. If i were the outspoken one and knew this shy person...what would i think of taht person once he/she started speaking up? Propably something like "finally" or "good for her/him"...but it wouldnt be anything mean or hurtful. So theres no need to be nervous about starting to talk ;)

I have a question that anyone reading can answer. I'm having a tough time lately building up the motivation to speak in class. I just don't know if I can do it. I practically hyperventilate everytime I walk in that class. Is it really worth it? What are the benefits?

dual, <br />
Thank you very much for your advice. It's a good idea to start getting to know my classmates first. I will put your words to good use. :)

orien, <br />
It's good to know that someone overcame it... you give me hope. Thanks so much for the advice. I will keep trying.

I think it would help you if you first get to know your classmates so you can feel comfortable talking in front of them. When you enter the classroom be friendly and greet the students. Say "Hi, How are you doing today?" They will respond. This is a good way to make friends and it seems that's exactly what you need in this class to overcome your shyness. But you won't have any friends if you don't start talking to the others in your class. Once you get to know the students you won't feel so afraid to speak in front of them and you won't fear their reactions. The first time you speak up in class will probably be a big deal because no one expects you to talk in class, but once you get used to participating in class discussions you won't feel like an outsider any more and those stressful feelings will vanish.

push yourself to steo out of your comfort zone. I too, was extremely shy as a teen...and now consider myself reserved, but not shy.<br />
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Feel good about your talents, you are in AP classes, so there is one talent right there.<br />
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Always ask people about themselves...people love that and they will open up to you and receive you.<br />
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Confidence has to come from inner strength...try and continue to try.<br />
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I overcame it and am now in sales...go figure. My clients like me because I geniunely care about them.<br />
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You can do it...keep your chin up.