Lizzie Granata, Breakthrough New Haven

Lizzie Granata, Breakthrough New Haven

Name: Lizzie Granata
Breakthrough Program: Breakthrough New Haven
Subject Teaching: Science
School Attending/Year: Colgate/2014

I never realized that I could feel comfortable speaking in front of a group of people before. Ever since I was little, my knees would shake, my hands would tremble, and I would breathe so quickly that I was sure I would faint. Public speaking has always been the monster hiding under my bed ready to attack and swallow me whole.

In college, I joined the Model United Nations club in an attempt to conquer my fear of public speaking. Although I made strides at talking steadily with firm hands, I always had to pretend to be at ease; really, on the inside, I was frying like a sunny-side up egg.

Teacher training seems different than public speaking though; I feel genuinely relaxed. “Teaching” my colleagues in the science department has helped me find my voice speaking to a group. I learned that public speaking and teaching are fundamentally different: the first should be dynamic, the latter should be interactive. In other words, if both were compared to circus acts, public speaking would be the tight rope with a silent, awed audience, and the danger that if one falls, one fails alone. Teaching, on the other hand, would be the jugglers and clowns, balancing many tasks at once, improvising based on the reactions of the audience, and working together, realizing that if one drops a ball, he or she can just pick it back up again.