My speaking and listening struggle

Since a young age reading has always been something I’ve enjoyed. The idea of being transported to another world just by the turn of a cover was somewhat comforting, a way i could escape everything i was feeling in my own life. It was a way of calming me down, making me feel better. Some people had their comfort blanket, i had a book.
It would be no surprise to everyone then that English has always been my favourite subject. I mean dont get me wrong some of the topics i found a bore, the constant 2 stars 1 wish marking or the group work i had to endure wasn’t something id describe as pleasant but the stories and the thought out detail of some topics made up for that, if anything it made me love it even more. Year 7 and 8 were a breeze for me. I wasn’t the best in English, far from it but i was at a level i felt comfortable with, a level i understood but could still learn from.

Year 9 onwards was when everything changed. You see in my school my year was the first year that started their option subjects in year 9, these are subjects you choose yourself. In a way its helping you mature by giving you the decision on choosing subjects that could potentially help you out in future years. This meant our lesson plans were somewhat different. Different in a way that every so often we would have a lesson where we would complete a controlled assessment, the marks on them going towards our final grade of the year.
Most of the controlled assessments i was ok with, my panic being there but in a way i could control, in a way you expect most people to be when they have the daunting task of doing well or failing. The one assessment that caught me of guard however was the speaking and listening assessment. This meant getting up in front of the class and being graded on how well you were able to present a specific subject or how well you listened to someone else presenting their opinion. Now speaking in front of people isn’t something I’ve ever been comfortable doing. At a young age i suffered with a speech impediment meaning i wasn’t able to pronounce my ‘s’ until a much later stage. This meant my confidence had been knocked severely because obviously my name is Sky and not being able to pronounce your own name is somewhat an obstacle in everyday life especially when you’re at that crucial making friends age. All of this on top of my already panicking state was a recipe for disaster.

At first i thought i could do it, i made my powerpoint in class with everyone else, talking about the different ways i could project my voice so everyone could hear and often joking around with my then friends in the process. The problem was since my mum had suffered a stroke and my struggle with going to school on top i was hardly ever in, jumping from physiotherapy session to doctors appointments to just pure terror meant i wasn’t exactly my English teachers favourite student. Now i am in no way saying this as a fact because im obviously aware that some teachers have a way of expressing concern for students or are just fed up of the constant absence but my year 9 English teacher gave off a strong sense of dislike for me. This being pointed out by several students on the remarks she would make when she would call the register and was made aware of my empty seat. Now as someone who feels the needs to justify themselves i often gave her an explanation of where i had been, usually making my way to the class early or staying behind to let her know of the certain personal situations going on. One day i decided to pull up the fact i was extremely panicked about the assessment, explaining to her how it made me feel and that i knew i wouldn’t be able to do it. Now remember at this age i had no idea what mental illness was, i wasn’t able to understand myself what was going on let alone describe it to someone else so my teacher wrote it off as nerves, saying everyone got them and i just needed to face them head on.

I remember the first day of assessment going well, with the presentations going in register order i knew i would be among some of the last students to present, this bringing comfort in knowing that i could at least complete the listening part successfully.
I had already planned that night that the next morning i wouldn’t be going in, having to avoid English all together. I just couldn’t do it, the mere thought of standing up and presenting had me feeling sick. As the weeks grew so did my number of absences from English, the thought that i would have to do my presentation when i finally went into class stopping me from going altogether. The days i did decide to attend school would be the days i knew i could safety avoid the subject, being stopped in the corridor however by my teacher explaining how important it was for me to complete the task but i couldn’t.
I was in no way expecting to get away with the assessment, that wasn’t my plan. I just wanted the teacher to understand my circumstances and not make me feel as pressured to do it in an environment that made me panic. I had tried on several occasions to get her to understand but she never did, she never took the time to listen to what i was saying. If she did then maybe it would’ve been different, maybe i wouldn’t have had to have so much time off school which then forced her into having to allow me to do the assessment in a way i was comfortable with.
The problem was that in the years following i was never comfortable talking to a teacher about my situation again. The idea that it would just be written off like it was once before panicked me so i avoided English again and then i avoided ICT. I avoided every situation that was similar and to this day i still do.

Sometimes we just need people to understand, to just take us into consideration. I dont expect sympathy, i dont expect you to go out of your way to do special and unthinkable things for me, i just want my situation to be understood, i want everything to be normal but in a way i would cope. I understand sometimes the outbursts of panic or the anger issues are a nuisance to your everyday life, my constant tears are annoying. I myself understand that and if i could stop i would.

If you do understand me, i appreciate it, i appreciate you. Thank you for everything.

Have a good day

Sky x


2 thoughts on “My speaking and listening struggle

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