Thursday, May 23, 2013

Parent Outreach: What a GREAT Discussion of Parent Involvement on LaRaza 102.3 FM in Atlanta


Well my interview on the radio went absolutely great! When I stepped in the studio, I was feeling more excited than nervous. I've rarely gotten spooked by speaking to a large audience, but I still had concerns. Those concerns evaporated quickly because....quite frankly....I was talking to a few folks in a tiny square room. There was no huge crowd (that I could see), or any faces that I felt I had to "read" in order to change my message to suit them (I have rushed the occasional workshop at the hint of a tired face). Nope, none of that. It was just a few folks and the Director of Media Relations for the largest school system in Georgia!!! No worries tho. =)


There were no butterflies and I just got right into it, especially since the first thing they told me is that I look just like Venustiano Carranza! Who is that you say? I dunno. I had no clue. So they told me he was the Mexican revolutionary from the 1900s that was pivotal in their independence and became president. He's that guy and I look just like him. Ahhhh, THAT guy....I still had no clue. Then they showed me a picture....

Venustiano Garranza
Venustiano Garranza's stunt double

HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! I do look like this guy!!! I decided then and there that I needed a jacket with medals...lots of medals!!!

After this, I was completely at ease. Not that I ever mind embarrassing myself (or my wife...or my kids....it's so much fun). I really don't care if I embarrass myself, since I'm so willing to share in the laugh, but not on this time around...not on the air! I did not want to embarrass my school or county, so I put the pro in professional. Normally, the occasional embarrassment is a great way to break the ice in a workshop or training, but not this time. So while I was being prepped for my appearance I started thinking about my most infamous and comical embarrassment with a group of parents EVER...all because of one word. Ironically it was my attempt to use the work "embarrassed" in Spanish.

Normally I speak Spanish very fluently, but sometimes my vocabulary fails me...and when it does, it can be EPIC! On this particular occasion, my brain decided to tell me the Spanish word for "embarrassed" was "embarazada." So similar sounding right? They look alike too! So with this mental go ahead (thanks brain) to use the word, I began telling my parent involvement workshop participants that they should never be shy about making contact with the school. Whether it is because of a language barrier or any other reason, don't be shy about reaching out! To put them at ease, I decided to share my own challenges with feeling embarrassed, since I do have the occasional stumble speaking Spanish

Oh boy, did I put them at ease! I began recounting my own experience with speaking Spanish. I boldly and confidently gave them the following advice....

"Don't be shy! You won't get embarrassed talking to us. I personally never worry about getting embarrassed at school from speaking Spanish. We want your involvement. I promise you that we will welcome you with open arms! Anyways, even if you do get embarrassed, how bad can being "embarrassed" be? Being embarrassed is not that big a deal. It has never really bothered me and I'm glad since it happens all the time to me. Don't let it bother you...whenever you feel a little embarrassed, just shrug it off.

That sounded encouraging right? Uplifting yes? Well kinda. Unfortunately "embarazada" doesn't mean "embarrassed." Oh no...it means something COMPLETELY different...it means pregnant! Yes, preggers! So the advice that I boldly and confidently gave them was that they would not get pregnant by just talking to us and that I "personally" never worry about getting pregnant at school (what a powerful testimonial). But it gets better! Have no fear folks, even if you do get pregnant from contacting the school. But I didn't stop there!! Oh no!! I told them that getting pregnant wasn't so bad and that I got pregnant all the time!!! And hey, if you do feel a little pregnant, just "shrug it off." 

Sadly, the link to my interview below is just packed with only good advice and is void of any epic word substitutions. If your Spanish is even half-reasonable, try giving it a listen. Give it a shot, if only to just hear me rattle off some Spanish for a few minutes.  =)