Brendan Shore gives a speech to the class. Students often stand in front of the class behind a podium in order to make it more official. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Fearn)
Speech class is an elective that should be required in every highschool curriculum. In this class, students learn how to deliver or memorize long speeches or presentations, present in front of a crowd, do formal toasts such as award shows, or informal speeches like a wedding toast.
Mrs. Wedge has been Leesville’s speech teacher for the past 24 years. “I truly love the creativity of helping students with future careers, such as law, television or radio, or even with everyday relationship skills,” said Wedge. Being able to succeed with public speaking is needed for these jobs and everyday life, when talking to colleagues, family, or friends.
Wedge perfectly fits the role for a speech teacher: She truly works to create a bond with her students and makes sure to keep a connection with them for the rest of their highschool experience. Having an amazing teacher who is willing to work with a student no matter what really helps kids become less shy in the classroom.
Being able to successfully present a memorized speech or properly make eye-contact with your peers as you speak can truly make a difference in one’s presentation, and speech class helps develop these skills.
One of the activities which takes place during speech class is ‘family sculptures’. Students get the opportunity to explain to the class how their family works, their relationships, and what they love or dislike about their family. Getting to do this activity creates a close-knit classroom that students may not get to experience in other classes. “It’s a very unique activity since it allows students to have compassion and empathy and to grow and understand each other,” said Mrs. Wedge.
Family sculptures lets students share their emotions in a judge free zone, and helps the other students become better listeners and friends.
A second activity that takes places are the wedding speeches. The focus of this activity is to challenge students to memorize a short yet informal speech. Students create a speech which they would present to the bride and groom, introducing the location of the wedding, the couple, and wishing them the best of luck in the future. Even though the idea of this speech is informal, the memorization idea is extremely helpful. Learning how to memorize a short speech or quote can help students in the future, such as with elevator speeches or a short presentation in college or work.
I took speech class during my freshman year, and I can say it is the class that has helped me the most over the past four years, and one class I can guarantee will be used in everyday life in the future, no matter what I choose to do. With every presentation or speech I give, the tactics I learned are helpful through my speech.
Speech class helps students–either nervous or outgoing– learn how to properly speak publicly. It increases communication skills, helps students gain confidence, and overcome their fears or worries about public speaking.