Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Today I have an assignment that is taking me way out of my comfort zone. I'm going to talk to three classrooms of first-graders about journalism and interviewing! I'm oddly terrified about it -- more terrified than I would be if they were adults or high school students, I think. At least then I'd know how to talk to them. I still have to sit down and figure out what I'm going to say, and I'd better hurry because my first class is at 10 a.m.

Apparently this relates to an assignment the students are doing. They've been given video cameras and are interviewing people in the school community, asking some specific pre-determined questions.

I shouldn't get too nervous about this, because I've had to do worse. Once, when I was just out of college and working at a newspaper in Central Florida, I dressed up in a foam alligator costume and went onstage at an elementary school in Auburndale, talking about newspapers. I don't even remember what I said. Because the alligator costume had a big foam snout, using the microphone was awkward. I remember one kid in the audience yelling, "Why do you talk out of the side of your mouth?"

Oh, Lord. At least today won't be that bad. I hope.

(Photo: An HDR shot of a large tree just off the high street in Hampstead.)


  1. Steve, I am excited to read about how things went today. I am envious of the teachers who were lucky enough to have such a valuable resource. Whenever we have an invited guest it is always such a joy and the children learn so much. It's very thrilling. I'm confident that you will be amazing!

  2. Kids can be the best audience ever. Enjoy yourself. Can't wait to hear how it went.

  3. LOL - I think I need a picture of you in the alligator suit :)

    I remember substitute teaching (VERY briefly) for elementary school kids. I just talked to them like I did my brother. Which might be why I wasn't all that successful (apparently "older sister speak" isn't popular with kids). Ha!

  4. Kids are the best, most honest and giving- forgiving...just be real.

  5. I can't wait to hear about it. And the alligator story is very David Sedaris.

  6. You in a gator suit... I'd have paid cash money!

  7. Okay, I have to ask. Why a foam alligator costume to talk about newspapers? I know it was Florida, but ...

  8. I'm sure you were great. I've done similar stints in classrooms though never in an alligator suit. Let us all know how it went.

  9. In a gator suit? That must have been great! I cannot wait to hear all about this day with the first graders. I suspect it will be/was quite interesting!

  10. Gary: It actually was very fun, as I'm sure you'll read in the next post. :)

    Ms Moon: At that age, they haven't really learned how to be critical!

    Bug: No photos exist, alas. (At least, I hope not.)

    Linda Sue: That was my goal!

    Elizabeth: Isn't it?! David Sedaris would make it much funnier, but it was one of the more bizarre moments in my life.

    Nancy: It wasn't a sight worth paying for, believe me.

    Lynne: The newspaper had a mascot for its schools page named Al E. Gator. That's who I was portraying.

    E: The alligator suit definitely made the experience, but I'm glad I didn't have to wear one this time!

    Helene: 25 years later, it's great. At the time, not so much!

  11. A good example of a light and shade picture. Nice to see one in colour.