Make Room For The Stuttering

Com-Com-Com-Puter

Posted on: May 5, 2009

A couple of interesting things happened yesterday. A student stopped by my office, and wanted to use a computer during class time. I suspected  he was just making an excuse to get out of class. He insisted his teacher said it was OK for him to come to the Career Center. Teachers know that I prefer to be called first, namely to make sure I am there.

So, I called the teacher and began to explain that there was a student wanting to use the “com -com -com”. It was not coming out – I  blocked on the word. In the outer office, the student shouts “computer, computer”. Another teacher overheard this, and she came up to him, and said, “Don’t be rude to her.” Student says, “Well she didn’t know how to say the word.  Teacher says, “Of course she knows how to say the word. Don’t be so rude to her.”

Teacher on the phone heard all of this and apologized for sending the kid down in the first place. I suggested a time when student could legitimately come. Teacher who “helped me out” then came in and asked if I wanted to “do anything” about the kid who was so rude. I said no – wasn’t that big of a deal, and lets just drop it. I felt my face flush when we had this conversation.

My feelings about being “rescued” by the teacher are mixed – yes, its good that she stuck up for me and attempted to correct the student. The student was incredibly rude. He was shouting really loud. But I don’t want to be known as the one who needs other people to intervene. If she hadn’t done that, I probably would have said something to the student myself anyway.

What do others think about this?

The other thing is this. I gave a speech last night at an Advanced Toastmasters Club. The goal was to promote Toastmasters to others supposedly not knowing about Toastmasters, and use examples to promote goodwill.

Well, I didn’t do well coming out of the gate. I messed up the punchline of the joke/quote I  used for the opening line. It was very obvious – everyone knew it. I just sucked in my breath, stated the wrong assumption, and went on. I was braced for a tough critique. That is the purpose of this advanced club – to get honest, “hold nothing back” feedback so we can improve. I was not a regular at this club, but still expected to give and get this type of round robin feedback.

A couple regulars mentioned minor things- need to smile more, need to walk around more. But one guest, who had never heard me speak, used  words like “amazing”, “compelling”, “incredible”. He said “You messed up so bad at the beginning that I just knew it was going to be terrible . But you recovered and used the real-time example of tension so well, and that propelled you into one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard. And when you mentioned you stutter, it made it all the more inspiring. When you said that, I was listening more for it and I picked up on stuttering. Wow, amazing.”

The other guest said something similar – that I have presence and people listen to what I have to say. He said he felt very lucky to have been there last night.

Wow!  Huh?  Went from one extreme to another in one day, and went to bed feeling pretty damn good about stuttering.

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4 Responses to "Com-Com-Com-Puter"

I wasn’t there, but based on your description, I don’t think the other teacher “rescued” you as much as closed ranks with you.

Teachers always band together in the face of rudeness by students because that’s part of educating tweens and teens: teaching them proper societal interaction. She’d probably have stepped in no matter what rude thing the kid had said to you, even if he’d (for example) insulted your shoes. You probably would have done the same for her if you’d been walking by and he’d insulted (for example) her appearance, her accent, the classes she taught, or anything else.

More like a “mind your manners” thing. You know you could have handled it yourself. At least, that’s how I an outsider read that interaction.

Well, maybe, but it seems she likes to “defend” me to others, and comment about my stuttering.
But its cool that she at least feels comfortable talking about it with me and too others – its not taboo like it was for so long!

Stutterers dont like anyone to rescue them and I really like how calmly you handled it. Kids will be kids and they can get rude.

I am glad your day turned out well. Congrats on that speech you are on to a very good thing.

I was invited to toastmaster once and when I told the person i stuttered she said it would be good for me. The coward that I am, I went only once and did not go back. I am thinking I should give it another chance.

Yep, kids will be kids, and Iknow her motives were pure.

You should go back to Toastmasters. It really helps! Lots of practice. I am enjoying your blog posts too.

Do you stutter covertly mostly?

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