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.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
IS ANYBODY LISTENING?
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?