Monday, January 26, 2009

Speaking Clearly

I have such a busy week ahead of me. It doesn't happen but once a quarter when I have my "regular duties" with Compass added in. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the Compass Team. May be too much at times? I get teased a lot during sessions because I'm such a "dig-it". Can I help I believe in educating one's self, especially in the spouse's part of active duty military? My team picks on me and says they're going to have buttons made to wear that say, "RUN! There's Hope and she'll make you take Compass!" It's all good and I take it with the love it's intended.

We have a FULL class this session. Fifteen new ladies are coming to participate. That's a little overwhelming if I really stop and think about it. See, I am also a Mentor. I stand in front of everyone and talk about certain subjects and share information. My first section is an hour long and I have no trouble whatsoever filling that time. I also do another section that is around 45 minutes to an hour the next day. We are in dire need of more ladies who are willing to be mentors. The team is stretched like it is and we have two who are going to be new Mom's soon. Many ladies will decline being mentors because they are afraid to get up in front of people to speak.

Ah, public speaking. Let's talk about that subject a moment, shall we?

I took a public speaking course in high school (it was a night time college credit course) that scarred me for life. I am normal and have the jitters that come with getting up in front of people. After five minutes or so, I'm comfortable and am able to carry on with little or no problem.

About that scar deal. I did a speech during the first part of my class and felt I did pretty good. Imagine my surprise when I got my grade back and it was a C (!!!) because of my articulation. Huh? As a high school senior from a small school, I really didn't know what articulation was. Add in the fact that the professor was a Yankee from Boston...we had a bit of a translation problem going on. She gladly/eagerly/meanly brought to my attention that my Southern accent was horrendous. I countered with her Boston accent wasn't any better and that I wanted to give her cold medicine she sounded so nasal. She jabbed at the paper with my grade on it and showed where I was having problems. "This", "that", and "there" were "Dis", "Dat", and "Dere".

Oh. I never really noticed because it was a natural sound that was normal in the area I was from.

Here came the paranoia. I found myself concentrating so hard on pronouncing my words correctly. She wasn't easy on me at all, but I ended up with a high "B" in that class. I can't tell you today if I ended up liking her or tolerating her. My memory seems to have shut that part down. I just know that woman may have ended up helping me, but I wish it had been in a better way.

Now, when I stand up to speak in front of people, I try very hard to make sure my articulation is as good as it can be. Sure, I slip some times when I get animated with my talking. Hopefully, my hands moving will distract those who would otherwise be offended by my ar-tick-you-lay-shun. Hopefully, my desire to educate these women will surpass my Southern accent. I sometimes find myself apologizing when I catch myself not properly pronouncing words right. I'd wager that a majority of them don't even notice when I do it, but it draws attention to anything else I might say. I can't win, can I?

Because this group is so big, I know my anxiety might be a tad higher, but after five minutes or so.....I'll be good. I hope. I am going to try very hard not to apologize when I hear myself pronounce a word wrong. It is a habit that has followed me for almost 20 years, so it may be hard to break. I am not ashamed of my Southern accent and contrary to popular belief/myth, having one doesn't automatically qualify me for redneck status. Redneck status is EARNED, Internets. That's a post for another day.

Now dis girl here is gonna ketch up on some lawndry afore she hits the week wide open. I'll be shore to check in with you because with dat many people? Dere's bound to be something funny or intrestin' to share.


Neighbor Debbie said...

Have I told you lately ur a nut. I think that when in the South speak like a southerner. I know that I'm a fixin to do alot of things with all ya'll. You never fail to make me laugh thanks sis.

Monogram Queen said...

Yay a post from you!
Man - that teacher - well, let's just say I will not be biased to children from other parts of the US/world based on their SPEECH.
I will remember that when I become a teacher.
When in rome...
Good luck on finding some new mentor wives for compass!

The Man on the Edge said...

You will be just fine. You always are. I have the utmost confidence in your ability to convey what you want to these spouses you are mentoring. You communicate very well and to heck with what other people think, as long as you are able to get the point across!

I love you and know you will do great.

Karen said...

Wow! That's alot of ladies! Isn't that more than when we took it together?? lol!! As for your articulation, don't worry about it! You are fine! Like you said, most people probably don't even notice it.

The family said...

I am laughing so hard at the last mine. Most likely thare shore will be sometin to tell us but I am shore dat it wont be sometin to do with your speakin abilty.

The family said...

Can I POKE you while you are there?

Bonita said...

Hope! First off I think you did fine with your speech when you did my compass class. And second I don't think I even noticed your southern talk interfearing.

If I met the requirements I would love to be a mentor, but we leave this base before I can become one.

AndreaLeigh said...

i've never had a problem with public speaking. i always over prepare and am nervous before hand, but when I get up there it is natural.

i should look into volunteering for compass here but I have no idea who I would contact. i could only do the night courses...

i bet you are a natural, miss hope.

AndreaLeigh said...

and i love that your husband reads and comments on your blog. HOW SWEET!

ronee said...

You make me laugh! I totally will be a mentor...but when I get back from will be fine. Be confident that they are more concerned about the information instead of what words you might have said differently! book me for the next one!

Busy Texas Dee said...

Like the Man said to heck with what other people think as long as you get your point across then why should it matter when you speak. If you really think about it eveyone has some kind of accent. It doesn't matter where you are from everyone speaks differently. I know I have pick up a few words here and there from living here in Texas. And I really love to hear how other people speak and try and figure out where they came from. Some accents are a lot easier to pick out than others but I find it fun to try. So you just go on being yourself and you will be jsut fine. You've come a long way in such a short period of time and that's great. I don't know if I could get up in front of people and speak. I always did terrible in speach class. Love ya.

Mrs. Em said...

Just wanted to check in and wish you luck at Compass. Can I tell you how GREAT it is to give Paige hugs everyday? I love it. You're gonna do great this week! If I could...I'd come teach a section for you...but I never did get to complete my mentor training! Guess God had other plans. :) I'll be thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

I would so totally be a mentor if it wasn't for the lame 3 years rule, sigh only a year and a half to go. until then I totally spread the word

Keri Alane said...

To heck with that nasally yank!!! LOL
I love my southern accent! And I am sure I would love yours to! Though I have lost mine quite a bit! It comes back though when I get on the phone with my momma (originally from AL but now lives in AK), My best friend from HS (SC), and my grandma (AL). My own husband makes fun of me for hours after I get off the phone! But in the end he tells me that one of the things that got him hooked was my accent!!! And your point about being southern and redneck is so true and I can't wait to hear your take on that one LOL! Don't hold off on it too long!
I would be a mentor for your area if I were there but I am on a rock!! LOL though I am excited to take the next mentor class here when it comes up!
By the way you have a fabulous and supportive husband!!! I think I need to Google reader his blog too!! Though I may just lurk around LOL!!
One of my favorite things to here in the world is a small child with that thick southern accent LOL it makes me feel all bubbly inside!!! Have a great week!