Archive for October 20th, 2007

Uh oh. I’m shaping young minds!

Yesterday was very serial. So much so that I forwent writing about the city council here or Ellen’s stupid crying about a dog (topics I planned to write about today.) I woke up this morning still thinking about it so I decided to write.

I was asked to speak to a high school in the community I cover. I always get nervous when I’m asked to do these things. Because today’s teens are definitely not yesterday’s teens — they know so much more and don’t tolerate the same things we used to. I also get a little nervous because being that I’m still fumbling along in this industry, even though in a much better role now, so I just can’t help wondering how in the world am I supposed to shape young minds about journalism when I’m still trucking along myself. I’m not a shy person as I’m sure you have guessed but knowing these two things when I’m in front of a classroom gives me the shakes.

Also they had to take notes. So the moment I started talking — I stopped. Then laughed that they had to take notes. Good start so far. Everyone laughed right along. I told of my triumphs and many tribulations — as I believe the teacher had wanted me to. I even revealed that I was a cocktail waitress for a time while freelancing. I gave them the goods. And man the questions they asked! Even the teacher. I tap-danced through some of them because they were along the lines of “what will happen to journalism’s integrity.” Hum…I wanted to have our official bigwig next to me for some of those questions, but I managed and heads nodded and notes were written. As I gave many of my answers I kept thinking, “Is that me saying this?” because they weren’t exactly bad or ridiculously misguided. I think I did alright and a lot of the girls said they liked my outfit, which was the most important thing for me to get right before walking in the room. You know how teen girls can be about fashion!

It just didn’t seem that long ago that I was in their place, sitting there listening to a guest speaker. Very serial and it struck a cord in my heart because I envied them so much. Just to be in that school desk, knowing what I know now would be a gift. I even told them so. I warned them of everything in this industry and the plus of the whole “high” of it. I warned them to take all the classes I didn’t — video editing, page building. I pushed them on internships and the importance of knowing what you have a passion for over the money it can bring. And they seemed entertained and hopefully left with their heads no longer in clouds about how quickly they will be in a significant role in their future careers.

Once upon a very long time ago, I wanted to be a teacher. But as things pushed along (a broken engagement and some hard-knock lessons learned) I wandered down to the basement of my college and filled out the application to be a reporter for the school paper. Addicted ever since except the small moments in which I’m in a classroom. This will sound very sappy so I warn you, but somehow being in that room with bright, eager faces ready to learn, I wonder what I may have missed not being teacher and what kind of one I would have been.

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