Monday, September 25, 2006

What I learned over the weekend, #1

We tell our students that debate is a learning experience -- but it is a learning experience all around --

I learn about my students...

Swear Jar wants to go to law school with a BA in economics. I could easily see him as the next Jim Kramer (crazy stock guy who bites the heads off of foam bulls) -- he'll probably skip the bulls, but he'll have something crazy and innovative.... If he doesn't do that, he could just as easily end up in jail for some kind of business financial scandal ---

LG (she needs a new name) is currently working someplace that makes her a lot of money but isn't good for her excellent mind. She wants to go to med school after her BA. Her previous experiences combined with her MD will make a huge difference in the lives of others. I'm going to do whatever I need to do to help her.

Sunshine is a wonderful and smart woman who works harder than any other debater I've met. The fact that she's dyslexic and is doing so well amazes me. Like LG, she's had jobs that made a lot of money but rotted her mind and she quit, taking a pay cut and loss of benefits etc. She's not sure what she wants to do -- and would probably be happy to stay at BNCC as long as they let her :).

Dude and LG have known eachother since 3rd grade and are currently dating. He wants to be a lawyer and seeing how quickly he picked up debate concepts, formulated his own arguments and original responses, I'm sure he'll do well in law school. He's the biggest puzzle to me on the team so far -- although his dating LG says a lot, as she doesn't put up with any crap -- so I'm sure he's amazing in ways I'll find out later in the season.

Overall, I predict a good season. If these four are still with me at nationals in March, I'll be a happy coach. Each one of them is worth the time and effort I put into them. They are starting to figure out how to work well as a unit and support one another. By March they'll be a great group and I'm sure they will have gained more from doing debate than from any of their other classes.

I learn about my former students..

D1 can wear a suit and not explode or collapse. He's doing well at his new school, AKA "the Borg" -- and he seems to be maintaining his individuality within that system. YEA D1 -- I miss you and am happy to see you doing well.

I learn from my students --

I'm learning about modern music. Listening to Nine-Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Heavy D, Smashing Pumpkins, Slipnot and others in the van has been interesting. I doubt I'll actually acquire the stuff, but I can start to understand parts of it.

I learn from other programs ---

Debaters from fancy-pants schools aren't that much better than my debaters from BNCC.
Debaters whose coaches have had a lot of competitive success aren't producing debaters that are significantly better than my debaters from BNCC.
Not drinking with my students is a good idea and it isn't being a "buzz kill".
I like the people who coach 'the Borg' and lots of other coaches.

( I can't say this is learning... but...) Other teams told my students the following:
Israel doesn't have any weapons.
If we provide a national healthcare program, we'll end up in a nuclear war.
Men shouldn't be talking about HPV and other women's issues.
Torture is good.

and, my students had good common-sense answers to that stuff --- and more often than not, the judges went along with them -- yep, it was a good weekend.

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