I met the other two panel participants in the lobby of the journalism school. We chatted and got to know each other, a school board member, a city-wide PTA director, and myself-a classroom teacher. Soon we followed the young J-school student to the studio.
It's then I wished I'd brought my camera. It would be so great to share this place with the students back in the classroom working with our student teacher. The heavy door, black cloth covered walls, cameras and bright lights, cords everywhere. Chairs and coffee tables arranged facing those cameras. My nervousness increased.
The three of us were left alone, so our chatting began again and in looking back it was these times of conversation that helped me through the ordeal. This and a lot of prayer. We clipped mics, heard last minute directions and we went live. The moderator had the trained soothing voice, but strong questions on our community's mind. We three were there to represent three different perspectives on education in our town, specifically our school board and the upcoming bond issue.
Well, the time did fly by, sort of. I think in panic mode time is warped in a strange way. Some of my answers came out clear and thoughtful. Other times I was even wondering in my head-as I talked-what his original question was and how far I had strayed from it. A large screen showed online questions and feedback which we could read as we talked-another strange sensation. The Q & A over, we again chatted as we walked through the building, then out into the sunny, warm day. Said our goodbyes and wished each other well.