Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have been dreading listening to this recording for over a month and finally did today. In December I was asked to participate in a radio interview on a rather sensitive subject, sex education in the schools.  That’s right, sex education, a controversially charged topic that can bring out the conservative side of even the most card-carrying, born and raised bleeding-heart liberal. Before agreeing, I made sure I had the support of my administrators.  Much to my dismay, they gave it, freely and with their blessings.  So much for that excuse.

At first I was excited by the challenge.  Even though I am a long time listener and fan of talk radio, never have I been compelled to call in on a show to engage in a conversation broadcast for thousands of people to hear.  The thought paralyzed me with fear.  What if I sound stupid?  Which I could.  What if I don’t know what I’m talking about? Which is possible. What if, what if, what if?

I realize there is an entire culture out there of folks who listen to talk radio and call in regularly.  And I have been very critical of some of these caller, and guest experts for that matter.  I have been known to criticize, scold, boo, yell, curse idiot callers, even if I’m the only one present in the car while listening.  I am the person who I would not want to hear me! 

I prepared well for the call, reviewing the science standards and State health standards.  I thought about how over the years I’ve developed lessons that would both educate and interest teens.  I always consider the parents and put myself in their shoes.  What truths do I want my 12 and 13 year olds to hear? The truth, this is the one topic that gets 100% of the attention of 100% of the students 100% of the time.  Can’t get more relevant than testicles and breasts.

There was an expert on the call as well.  A wonderful Sociologist Professor from a nearby University who has conducted studies and written a book on the topic of sex education.  She was smart, articulate and after all, a published author.  The thing is, not sure if she’s actually ever worked with teens.  In fact, I don’t know if she has kids of her own. She was gentle with me, however and supported what I had to share.

The host was also very comforting.  A professional, well educated woman with a private practice and a radio show.  With teens of her own she’s living the ups of downs of parenting. Her voice was rich and she exuded intelligence.  I give her high marks for asking some very pointed, direct questions.  Nary a subject within the subject did she skirt.

And then there was me, hence, the waiting over a month to listen to the show.  After the call, which was recorded for a later broadcast, I was sure it did not go well, even after the host emailed me telling me otherwise.  Boy, did my self-doubts get the best of me. 

So today, a month later, was the day I listened.  I cringed with my frequent use of “ums” towards the beginning of the show.  Oh, to do over!  I answered the questions as honestly as I could, which pleased me. I even cracked a joke during the process. Quite spontaneous!  I thought I would be disappointed by my faux pas.  I wasn’t.  Although I do not have multiple letters in my professional title, I know what I’m talking about.  So, overall challenging as it was, I felt satisfied that I had stepped out of my proverbial comfort zone and tried something new.  Was anyone listening?

1 comment:

  1. I want to hear that radio show. I think you have taught both my boys sex education--and I thank you for that!

    I'm sure you sounded wonderful. One always hates their own voice.

    I'm proud of you!