Mrs Shiny Rajesh
St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School
Delhi- 110 096
Subject: Thanking you for being a Silent Supporter.
Dear Shiny Ma’am
I am not sure if you know that I owe you my confidence.
I do feel nervous but I do not feel afraid anymore to speak on stage. I was in the 2nd grade and you were my class teacher. You choose me and two others to represent the entire class in a storytelling competition. I remember, when you told me this, I was baffled. I told you I do not want to participate, but you were firm on the decision, and this silly competition was a big deal for me.
After practising for almost three weeks, I was able to recite well. I did not forget my lines and my actions were perfect while practising. However, I feel I did not fulfil your expectations.
That was the first time I climbed the school stage. Believe me, I felt I achieved something great. Feeling fascinated, I looked across the entire stage. All the participants were made to sit on the stage itself. I think, in total, we were eight or ten. I repeated my story when the other participants recited theirs! I was happy that I remembered it.
“Lubna Ismailee, 2-B. It is your turn,” a voice declared! I went and held the mic. I saw all my teachers, principle and judges sitting with an expressionless face. I saw the entire hall which was half-full with my batchmates. I was stuck. I did not know what to speak, where to look, and how to act. I took around 15-20 minutes to recite a 200- 300-word story.
I was fortunate enough to have understanding classmates. They simply thought that I forgot the story. Maybe they were unaware of the term ‘stage fear’. Two days later, a substitute teacher told all the participants in my class to recite their story again. The entire class’ gaze rested on me. I stepped up to the front of the class, recited my story in an absolutely perfect manner, along with the actions, and returned to my seat. The thunderstorm of claps that followed restored my confidence.
I am not sure if it was my stage fear or fascination. I saw the audience from that angle for the first time. Maybe I am wrong, but it’s possible I was stuck because I had no stage practice and I was unaware of the fact that 200 students would look at me! However, the best part is that post this incident, I no longer feared public speaking.
Ma’am, you never walked up to me to scold me, you did not make a face when I was stuck on the stage, you did not talk to me about the issue at all, and I think that helped. You made me believe in myself. You left me to make me feel comfortable with failure. It was not a failure for you, rather, it was a very small incident that was not worth spending time discussing.
You made sure that I participated in other public speaking activities as well. You never kept me away from opportunities.
Being a part of the student council, I conducted so many assemblies, I hosted so many events at school. I no longer feared the stage or the people. This incident made me feel some discomfort, but this was a major learning opportunity. It was not a failure, it was a great lesson and the first move towards personality development!
Thank you so much for your kindness and support, Shiny Ma’am. I can never forget how your silence helped me overcome this incident.
I love you.
Your “sweet child,”