Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Back to the Land of Adults
I survived my encounter with the first-graders. Whew! I'm glad that's over.
Of course they were all adorable and they asked surprisingly good questions. As I think I mentioned yesterday, they're doing a project that involves interviewing people from the school community. I was there to give them some tips on how to conduct an interview.
I'm never sure how sophisticated I can get with little kids, but I firmly believe you can't talk down to them. So I covered everything from simple pointers like making eye contact and not interrupting to keeping information in context. (That was a trick to explain.) Then I had them interview me, and I did a role-playing game with their teacher in which I made interviewing mistakes and asked the kids to tell me what I was doing wrong. I'm not sure whether they absorbed it all, but at least they were attentive and they seemed to have fun. There sure was a lot of giggling, which is always a good sign.
It's funny how quickly things can go south, though. While I was telling them about being a journalist, I mentioned how I sometimes had to go to crime scenes. "Was it scary?" one kid wanted to know. It could be, I said, particularly at night. One little girl then volunteered that people get drunk and have fights at night in the street below her window. "What does 'get drunk' mean?" asked another girl.
Oh, yikes. Get me out of here.
One of the teachers asked me to tell the kids about my family. So I mentioned my partner Dave and our dog, as well as my family back in Florida. Only afterwards did I think, "Did I just come out to a classroom full of first-graders?" But fortunately the school is very positive and affirming on that front, and the kids didn't seem to register it. They just wanted to know the dog's name.
I actually spoke to four different classes, and that did get a bit tedious -- giving the same talk four times over. I also had a bunch of other work to do at the school, and yesterday was wildly hectic for other reasons too, so by the end of the day I was exhausted. I came straight home and had a gin & tonic, which I managed to accidentally inhale into my sinuses! Let me tell you, gin burns when it goes up your nose.
(Photo: A wall in Golders Green, Sunday.)