Teachin' for the Teach-in

I recently visited Gateway High School in Kissimmee, FL for a teach-in. It was a district-wide day for professionals and hobbyists to come in and teach the students about their art. I was invited by Derek's mom (who is a teacher at Gateway) to cover photography and blogging, two things they had somewhat covered in class. From the first invitation the opportunity sounded fun. But after a few days of thinking about it and reminiscing of past nerve-wracking school presentations I started to regret accepting. Suddenly the image of me sweating and trembling, tripping over my words or blanking out completely made me feel as if I were about to get on stage for a tap dancing performance. The accelerated heart beat, the shortness of breath, the butterflies in my stomach. Bad feelings. Of course none of my past experiences speaking in public were ever that bad. My 'memory' just serves as a way to justify those unsure feelings (a horrible habit of mine).

Anyway, weeks passed and the date crept closer. I almost told Derek's mom I couldn't accept but Derek wouldn't let me give in. He said I would be fine and I made him pinky swear that fact. And so the day arrived. Dawn appeared; we woke up earlier than usual, and disgruntled we drove to the school.  On a side note, you should know that I have the biggest fear of my dreaded "shaky voice" when I'm speaking. Ever since 7th grade when this kid asked the teacher if I was about to cry while I was giving my book report. Traumatic I tell you. And much to my dismay I heard the shakiness begin as I introduced myself to the class. Darn it! I wondered why I couldn't seem cool and collected like Derek. I felt unprepared and uncollected because of my nerves. But after a few minutes of talking to the kids, (and finding the comfort of computer desks proximity) I felt much more at ease and the shakiness soon disappeared (at least I think). And though I still felt nervous every time a new class came in, I was less stressed about it. In all honesty the students were really fun to talk to. It felt good to hear such positive reactions to my photos and Derek's videos and stories. In hindsight all of the stress I gave myself seemed unwarranted. Derek was right. What did I have to lose?

Nothing. If anything I gained a lot from it. And for that experience I have Beth (Derek's mom) to thank for thinking of me to come in. As well as Derek for not letting me chicken out. Derek and I took it upon ourselves to inspire the students to think for themselves and work for something they'd love to do forever. I never expected to be inspired in return. But that's what happened. I've got a new zest for my hobby-to-professional endeavors that has me thinking of all sorts of neat ideas that I can work on.

So thank you to Beth, and the three New Media classes we spoke to as well as the thoroughly outgoing IB class. I had a lot of fun.

Peace & Love