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Gibbering Idiot!


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I've done my first parents meeting, for the parents of new intake into F2 in September, this evening. We had lots of parents about 40 turn up plus the Head, TA's and other support people to give their little bit. I made lots of notes but end up sounding and looking like a gibbering idiot. I just cannot speak in front of groups of other adults and i ALWAYS go BRIGHT RED and blotchy. Silly thing is I already know most of the parents because I'm in Nursery with them. I can do anything with the children and I'm fine on a one to one basis with the parents but put me in front of a group and I look and sound SO stupid! My head teacher says I write brilliant letters and have developed a really good relationship with parents and I know I can communicate really well that way. So why can't I do it with a group? I'm supposed to be a professional. The more I think about it the more I want to cry! Perhaps I'm just tired and stressed.

Does anyone else get like this. Any really useful tips on how to manage it?

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It probably wasn't as bad as you think it was. It's just practice - what you hear in your head isn't the same as other people do. sometimes we listen to church sermons that i'm sure the vicar thinks are marvellous and erudite and we're all yawning and sliding under the seats! works both ways

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i am sure that ot wasn't really that bad and that you are being highly critical of yourself.

I tooo hate talking in front of a group of parents and go red and feel flusterd. The best way i have learnt to deal with it is A. practice... the more you do it the more you get used to it and B. prime someone that you can make eye contact with in the audience. Either put a Teaching assistnat in the audience where you cn llok at them or say to a parent that you know well that you need someone to make eye contact with. C. I also find that if I over prepare myself I also become more of a wreck as you get yourself muddled up and then think this isn't what i was supposed to be saying. I also have a powerpoint prepared as it gives the parents a focus rather than looking at you and some of the clipart of children that moves from Microsoft really grabs the parents attention.

 

Please don't be don't be too harsh on yourslef. Be proud that you managed to stand and talk to the parents. I am sure that you got the main point over to the parents. Talk to some of the parents and other staff that were there tonight and ask them for some feedback... I am sure most of it will be positive.

 

Now reward yourself this evening and relax.

 

L

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I had to do a meeting similar to this in my 2nd year of teaching with 2 days notice! I too went bright red, think I sound stupid and talk faster and faster! To make it worse my head had a discussion just outside the hall with the deputy in a really loud voice so you can imagine how that made me feel! I felt awful afterwards but was assured that it all sounded ok! Why is it always worse doing these things to people you know???

Don't beat yourself up, have a stiff drink and pat yourself on the back for getting through it!

 

Well done

Green Hippo xx

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Hi

 

So sorry you feel like that. I bet you were better than you think! I don't know what format your meeting takes but if you feel nervous perhaps the parents do to. We have an informal meeting, cheese wine and activities set ourt around the room for parents to try with challenges to give them some feeling of what it is like to learn to write. For example write out the alphabet backwards using the hand you don't normally write with. It may not suit your school but perhaps something a little more informal would not worry you as much.

 

Having said all that I bet you were loads better than you thought, we are always our own worst critics so don't be so tough on yourself.

 

Jay

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Reading your message - made me feel slightly more noraml. I totally understand where you are coming from and do exaclty the same - mind you I don't feel confident at parents evenings either. last year one of the parents (and a member of staff) told me I had said '... the moment important thing is that your children don't have a good time here....' so that makes me even worse now.

i over compenstated this year, imagined them as kids, went well I thought til later at one of the inductions sessions, a mum who hadn't been there as dad had been; remarked that dad had commented that my manner smacked of someone who had been around children too much!!

Guess I can't win!

 

Sorry there's no adivse here - but the realisation that you are not alone.

 

Em

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concrete, thank you for your tips! guess what? I left the parents meeting having promised to do one next term on writing, reading and/or numeracy so your advice will be great! I think it all probably was as bad as I thought but having read that I'm not the only one, Jemily Jones, does help. I know that my head realises that I get worked up about things - I'm not sure she realised how much until tonight! I would love to appear cool, confident and composed like she does. I wonder if she's a gibbering idiot on the inside!!!!

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Hi

During teh Induction Evening I've found it useful to use photos on a powerpoint display that show the types of activities that the children take part in during their time in the Reception Class. It means the parents aren't looking directly at me for the whole of the session and they enjoy the photos.

Helen

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I totally understand! I recently had to do 3 evening meetings for new parents and found it very stressful. Give me 90 children any day but speaking in front of a large audience of parents is a whole different matter! We have now cut down the 'presentation' time in our meetings so that there is just time to get the important points across and then plenty of time for parents to come and look at classrooms and chat with staff on a 1:1 basis. This is a much more friendly, less pressured way of organising it and seems to have gone down well with parents. Also, I agree with the powerpoint comment - this has really helped me too. It gives the parents something to look at other than you but also helps you to order your ideas rather than getting flustered.

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One thing you can console yourself with, Kamiller, is that you're not alone. :o

 

I have found one thing that really helps. The worst bit is the adrenalin that kicks in when you first start and which can cause all sorts of problems - including not being able to breathe between sentences! If you can stand up and take your time before starting, look around and say a first sentence (hello, my name is xxxx, for example), then stop for a second or two, it really gives your body time to adjust to the adrenalin. The stopping can be for any reason. Pick up and take a sip from a glass of water. Suddenly realise you've left your notes on the table and pop over to pick them up. Ask who has been to a meeting of this sort before and hold your arm up, inviting them to respond. Just give yourself a time to adjust to all the eyes on you, and (in my case at least) it allows you to regain your equilibrium.

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Oh poor you. I can totally empathise. When I gave a presentation to my peers I felt sweat run from under my arm, my tongue felt bigger than usual and I could feel my face burning. The written feedback (which I read in private) told a very different story. They saw a confident. passionate person who knew what she was talking about and who had good eye contact and who was able to pause for others to speak. I honestly dont think even now that they were in the same room as me! But it goes to show that how we feel and what we show are very different things. I bet you did much better than you think. And at least its over for now. :o

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Lots of great tips already. I applaud you for volunteering for another presentation, well done you. :(

 

Something I learnt just the other day at a training session I attended was similar to Steve's advice. To calm down when feeling anxious (spl?) breath 7 counts in and 11 counts out. Practice this often prior to any 'event' and then use this technique whilst 'getting your notes' (as Steve suggested) but maybe not whilst trying to sip from a glass of water. :o

 

Another idea is at the start of the presentation ask the parents to think about something relevant to the context of the presentation, for example, what is their earliest childhood memory? or their favourite childhood activity? or their first day at primary school? anything like that. They will be so busy 1. trying to 'recall' and 2. worried you may ask them what their memory is, so much so that they won't notice that you are feeling anxious. xD. Then tell them yours and they will all just be happy you didn't ask them, which will endear them to you. :(

 

Let us know how it goes with the writing, reading and/or numeracy talk. :(

 

Peggy

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If it's any consolation in my parents meeting for next year parents I told them that they needed to ensure that their children could dress/undress themselves as whilst they only had 1 or 2 at home.... I had 23 in school!!!!!!!!

I kid you not!!! (Although I feel I made my point well!)

Not many people enjoy leading those meetings anyway, so don't worry you are definately not alone!

Sam x

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to say that Steve's comments are what has worked for me. I have tutored for the Pre-school Learning Alliance and held workshops for parents but ALWAYS start to fall apart at the beginning. It really does help to try those little delaying tactics - although I hadn't realised that I was compensating for the adrenalin, I just wanted to slow my heart down and stop the shakes so I could use those drywipe pens!

 

Good luck, and again, well done for volunteering for another :o

 

Sue

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ditto, i do exactly the same. the more out of my comfort zone, the worse it is for me...

believe in yourself...

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Hi

 

You're definitely not alone...and its some reassurance to me that there are others (more than I'd expect) that feel the same.

I feel awkward and stupid whenever I talk to parents - in a group or individually :o

I always walk away thinking "why did I say that? " or "that didnt make any sense", "they must think Im ..." ..etc...always the negative self talk and on most days.

I think you are very brave for even trying in the first place...I avoid any group 'speeches' when I can which isnt exactly helpful in the long term I know!. xD

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