Saturday, January 16, 2010

About three years ago...

... I decided to stop coaching debate.

I was at a tournament. I had two teams with me --- both of whom were being asshats... in different ways.

I was doing way more work for debate than for any of my other classes -- and spending way more time than was accounted for in my teaching load.... especially if you consider travel time.

My dissertation was way off-track.

I wasn't having fun doing it.

Hubby was in his first year teaching in Red State -- and between debate and Hubby travel, I was only home about 1 weekend in 3... if that.

I remember calling Hubby from my hotel in Colorado and asking why I was doing this? I really didn't want to do it anymore. Continuing to coach debate didn't help me in any way as a philosopher.

To top it all off 3 of my 4 debaters should have been going elsewhere the following year, so I'd have to recruit -- and recruiting is the WORST thing about coaching. In essence, I had to beg students who thought they were busy to do this activity that wouldn't be their JOB. Telling them that the experience is invaluable and will help them in multiple ways (which is the truth) wasn't persuasive to people who were either too busy to get to tournaments OR would rather smoke pot in their parents' basement...

For some reason, quitting coaching hadn't occurred to me until that moment in the Colorado hotel room.

After that -- it was actually pretty simple. I told my dean I wasn't doing it anymore. I realized when I did it, that it might mean the end of the program at BNCC -- and I was ok with that... even though I'd done a lot of work to establish the program on campus. As it happened, a friend in comm took it over -- but, s/he had a hard time with recruiting and the program dissolved. Really, it was probably inevitible -- debate is both expensive and time consuming for students like ours..

4 comments:

Meansomething said...

Interesting to reflect on those a-ha moments when you realize you don't HAVE to do the thing that you've been doing, or the way that you've always done it. I appreciate this story because I think I have too few of these moments! And I know from your other posts that yeah, it was time to walk away from debate. Has it been three years already? Wow!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I had some amazing debaters -- who are still good friends, so for that reason I'm very glad I continued as long as I did... but, otherwise I probably should have quit several years prior... oh well.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I had flashbacks (shudder!) reading this--I also brought a failing debate team to excellence and it drained me to DEATH. Not kidding. The stress got so bad (besides teaching English full time I would spend Friday night through Saturday night doing tournaments with Sunday to do housework and grade papers) that my right should began twitching with spasms. The tension I carried was soooo painful and took forever to get rid of. And when I quit coaching I effectively killed the program. And saved my school district over $10,000 a year. In retrospect I should've done it much sooner.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Our tournament schedule as similar -- except that we had to travel so far for competition we'd leave on Thursday afternoon and not get back until late on Sunday.

From Monday to Thursday afternoon I had to teach, coach practice rounds, grade etc.. All for one course release -- and that was at the end of my coaching.

I remember that feeling of relief when I realized that I didn't have to do it anymore...