Anyone who's ever been in high school or college has done it - present something in front of the class. Whether it's a public speaking class or creative writing or maybe even just a science project, presenting something in front of of 20 or so of your closest peers has always been a (albeit sometimes nerveracking) part of the education experience.
Except maybe it won't be anymore.
A student who just identifies herself as "leen" on Twitter tweeted out "Stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to". She openly suffers from severe anxiety.
|￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣|— leen (@softedhearts) September 8, 2018
stop forcing students
to present in front of the
class and give them a
choice not to
\ (•◡•) /
The tweet has been retweeted over 130,000 times and commented on 5,000...from people with varying opinions on the matter.
Some people 100% agree that public speaking can be a trigger for anxiety attacks, and therefore teachers should give students the option to not present in front of the class.
Forcing people with anxiety to do things that make them anxious actually makes some people worse. I forced myself to go to school and be around large crowds. I ended up getting so bad to the point I couldn’t even leave my house and cried at the thought of being around anyone.— Emily B 🖤❤️💗💙💚💛 (@EmilyDBeato) September 9, 2018
But the vast majority agrees that, while public speaking can indeed be anxiety-inducing, it's a necessary life skill and students should do it to develop the ability overcome that anxiety in future situations.
As an adult who has dealt with anxiety, I understand where you’re coming from, but disagree. I’ve had panic attacks during presentations. Public speaking is a crucial skill in many job roles and in life. Like any skill, you have to practice and it gets easier.— Moxie Six (@moxiesix) September 10, 2018
Hi, coming from sombody with severe anxiety, having somebody force me to do a public presentation was the best idea to happen in my life. I’ll never regret having my first anxiety attack in front of a classroom of students. Because it’ll happen and that’s life.— hayley 🌻 (@itshayleybop) September 10, 2018
|￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣|— Aric Wood (@wood_aric) September 10, 2018
AS SOMEONE WHO
ISSUES THE CONTROLLED
ENVIRONMENT W/ ALL MY
PEERS TO PUSH MYSELF
AND BE PUSHED WAS THE
BEST AND HEALTHIEST
THING TO HAPPEN TO ME.
In an article on the subject in The Atlantic, a panel of students, teachers, and medical professionals all weighed in, with one teacher saying "We're in a day and age where we have to acknowledge our students' feelings". A teacher in Connecticut, however, makes a great point about the education system in general - “...pushing outside of comfort zones is also a big part of what we do.”
What do you think? Should students with severe anxiety be allowed to opt out of public speaking? And if so, what would be required for them to have that option? Medical proof? A note from a parent? What would keep students from faking anxiety in order to not have to participate?
There's no perfect solution, but some of the students above make a great point - eventually you have to speak in front of people. It might not be in high school, and it might not even be in college. But it will happen, and the more practice you have in uncomfortable situations, the more likely you will be able to handle it as an adult.