I was given an invite to Dominyka’s Gymnasium (school) where I would give a motivational speech in an English lesson, This was something very new to me, as much as I have visited a number of different schools across the globe and had 1 to 1 talks with children around the ages of 6 – 10 years old, I have never given a speech to a class let alone to a class of around 15/16 year olds.
I prepared very well for my speech and tried not to let my nerves get the better of me. The moment I walked into the class my self-preparation had quickly disappeared and all I was left with were a bucket full of nerves. As the teacher walked to the back of the class I was left at the front, on centre stage trying to clear my mind.

At this point all I could teach the class was how to be nervous, I was far from my comfort zone. After telling myself at a rate of 1 hundred miles per hour to pull myself together,  I began my speech, but the only words that could come out of my mouth were      “hi”        then an awkward pause from me, so I decided to talk about the bad weather and explain that this was an English tradition and how we, for some reason, talk about the weather. I stood there stumbling my words, still full of nerves, I exploded with my prepared speech

As I was talking about the things I prepared, I could see no- one was really interested in what I had to say, oh know what a disaster this was turning out to be, “a nervous boring Englishman stuttering his words out”.

An awkward silence………

I really needed at this point to either leave and walk out or find a comfort zone for myself, of course my comfort zone is my hobbies and about things I have passion for which of course is travelling.

I asked the class if anybody had any hobbies,

Nothing, not one replied, no one had any hobbies, hmmmm

I had failed and lost interest of the students,

“oh no disaster”

Ok, I will talk about my hobbies so I talked about travelling and some of the countries I had visited, a few eyebrows lifted “Result”

I have found something some may be interested in so I went on and talked about some of the amazing experiences I’ve had and some of the unique foods I’ve tried. Whilst I was speaking about foods I would ask the class to translate and if they understood, for me, this was the key turning point as the class interacted with me. I would ask along the way if anyone had any questions, 1 young lad asked a question followed by another and another.

It was around this point I had forgotten about my nerves and felt more comfortable.

As this young man kept asking questions it would lead on to further things from religion, politics, economy,  the  crisis happening in the E.U,  what I thought about leaving the E.U and a few other questions which I spoke about.

The lesson was up which was notified by a piece of music, WOW I had spoken for 45 minutes from what was meant to be an intended 10- 15 minutes, did I pull this off? “I believe so”, the students didn’t flinch at the end of the lesson, they didn’t grab their bags and run, they continued to listen to me for a further 5 minutes,

I quickly wrapped up this lesson and thanked them for listening which they applauded me and then class was dismissed.

I really hoped they learnt a few things from me even if it was to listen to a native English person speak and try to understand, I can honestly say I have learnt a lot from this lesson and how hard it is to be taken out of your comfort zone, my lesson was to grab an opportunity, learn from it and enjoy it.

I really hoped they enjoyed the lesson and to my relief I was told by Dominyka that a few students had said after the lesson that it was interesting listening to me, I would love the opportunity to do this again, however, next time I will know what to expect and believe I would enjoy it from start to finish.