I forgot how exhausting presenting can be! For the past month my schedule has been rather sparse but in the past three days I gave five presentations and there really is an endurance that has to be there in terms of mental sharpness and more importantly one's voice. Don't get me wrong as my last presentation of the five yesterday went great, but today I am rather worn out.
Anyway, what is it that adds to my endurance and give me the strength to go on when I have on the go go go? It's presentations like the one I had in Patton, Missouri yesterday. I have gotten to know my Missouri geography but I had never heard of Patton until this presentation despite the fact that, according to Wikipedia, the high school basketball team has the national record for most three pointers in a game. Anyway, yesterday, I found my way there to give a presentation to students and once again I was blown away with the impact of my words.
Of course, back in October, I did do a national tour which focused on schools but when it's been a while I forget what it is like to present, especially to students. I was somewhat nervous before I started yesterday and my nervous yawns kicked in (truly it was a need record of yawns. My coworkers can attest to this) and I was sure I was going to forget my presentation, or at least the order of information I present.
The time of starting was drawing near and when it's time to begin, well, nerves or not when the show starts it has to start and it's odd, at least for me, how the second I start talking in a presentation it becomes as easy as breathing (that is, when you aren't thinking about breathing which now I have to apologize because you're probably having to consciously think about breathing. Don't worry, it'll go away soon) and there is no thought put into it.
I went my normal twenty or so minutes yesterday which left 40 minutes for questions and to begin there weren't any hands up. I became nervous because that was going to mean I was going to have 40 minutes of time to fill with random stories that don't really have a flow. Each passing second felt like an hour and then finally I had a question. Then after that I hand another one, and with each passing question there were more hands and when time expired I had more hands up than at any other point. And not only that, the questions asked were profound and showed an extreme curiosity about this thing called autism and it is here that I am filled with hope. Reaching students, and teachers for that matter, is one of the most important things I think we can do and whether it is in a big city, or a small town, I have seen the thirst for knowledge and as I write this I have a big smile on my face because I know, without any doubts, that the level of autism awareness and understanding inched ever forward yesterday.