Can’t Stand Me: The Video

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

The sound of my voice on a recording never sounds like what I think it does, and these days I certainly am not thrilled to see myself on camera.  So which to choose?

The first time I really took a good look at myself on video I was student teaching, which would make it almost thirty years ago.  Videotaping was a new idea then as a way to give feedback to teachers.  One of those big, clunky video cameras would be mounted on a tripod in the back of the classroom, so it would be “unobtrusive”.  At first the kids would all be goofing around in front of the lens but would quiet down pretty quickly.

video cameraWe’d be taped for roughly twenty minutes then have a “feedback” back session with our supervising teachers.  Watching the tape was never comfortable; seeing the kids who weren’t paying attention to the carefully constructed lesson that I thought would change their lives–yikes.    The number of times I heard and say myself saying “um” or “uh” was ridiculous.  Seeing yourself without any editing or special lighting, in all the glory that is an elementary school classroom…priceless.

I’m grateful for the chance to have had the kind of feedback that a video tape offered.  It’s served me well throughout my public speaking and teaching career, not to mentioned the few appearances I’ve had on the local television news.  So today my cooperating teachers who did the videotaping and feedback get the thank you shout!

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