Pronunciation Problem: The first day of third grade I was introduced to my new teacher, her name was Mrs. Hart. A few minutes into the first class I raised my hand and asked a question, I can not recall what that question was but I remember starting off with “Mrs. Hart” and the question proceeding directly after. While I finished asking the question the entire class started laughing and naturally I was embarrassed but I didn’t understand why the other kids were making fun of me. At the end of the class Mrs. Hart told me that when I pronounced her name it sounded like “Mrs. Hot” and the other students thought I was calling our third grade teacher “hot.” This is when I found out that I had trouble pronouncing my R’s. It was apparent that I had difficulty speaking and pronouncing my R’s to others. Although, I could never tell personally because when I heard myself speak it always seemed to sound fine and normal just like how every other student in my class sounded when they spoke.
I’m in trouble: On the second day of third grade, Mrs. Hart handed out a list of books that all the students could chose from and then do a book report on with an oral presentation at the end of the month. Immediately I was scared, the feeling of vulnerability had run through my body just as described in Bryan’s social theory. I knew that all of my classmates were going to laugh at me every time I tried to say a word with the letter R in it and didn’t know what to do. So, I went home and told my mother the problem that I was having at school and she told me not to worry about it and that she would have me pronouncing my R’s correctly before I would have to give my speech at the end of the month. The next day I was in a private tutor speech session and began my practice.
Practice makes perfect: I struggled the first few weeks because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that the way I thought my pronunciations sounded wasn’t exactly how they sounded to others, it just didn’t make sense to my young mind. Getting corrected over and over by my tutor was terrible, it felt like I wasn’t making any progress and I had a lot of anxiety building up as I was worrying about the oral presentation that I was going to give in just a few short weeks. Then at the beginning of my fourth week, my tutor began saying things like, “that sounded really good,” “wow you’ve come a long way from just a few weeks ago,” and I grew excited and confident knowing that my pronunciations were getting better. It was interesting though because for some reason I still couldn’t hear the difference in the way I spoke.
Success: Finally the day came for my oral report, when I walked to the front if the class I was timid and anxious, exactly how this article portrays how people are worried about the feeling of rejection. As I started to speak I was cautious and spoke slowly, but then after a few sentences into my report I realized that I must sound just like everyone else because there was no laughter or side talk amongst the other kids. Immediately my confidence grew and I spoke louder and more clearly than my first few words, realizing that my report was well done and that I was well spoken. From that day on I have always been a good public speaker.