Saturday, December 03, 2005


I know that some people might say that I'm not easily impressed. To some extent that may be true, but many times it's that I keep that information to myself. But I have to brag on my speech team tonight. I am inheriting a really terrific group of kids. For those of you that aren't familar with the background, here's a quick recap.

I went back to teaching this year after working in the yearbook industry for six years. I was reluctant to consider going back, but as always, things work out the way they're supposed to and I was offered a job teaching speech and coaching the speech team. Technically I am in a transition period as I am teaming with the current coach who will resign from coaching next year (but will teach another year of just theatre and speech classes before retiring) . So we're trying to make this a smooth transition for the students.

We had a speech tournament this weekend and the kids did very well. Of 21 students that competed in multiple events, 26 entries made it to semi-finals and fourteen made it to finals. Overall, the team took 2nd place sweepstakes and several students are now qualified for TFA state competition.

But that's not why I am impressed. Sure, I am very proud of them and think they are very talented. I am most impressed with the way they behave and their presentation at tournaments. Compared to many teams in the area, our team is quite exceptional. First, they dress extremely well. Our guys look sharp in suits and ties. The girls are professional, yet feminine in their outfits. I can't tell you how many students I've seen at tournaments that dress very poorly. And not having money is really not an excuse in my book. We have some really poor kids and they still look fantastic. Next, they know how to take care of business when it comes to tournaments. They are on time, they get to their rounds and perform when they're supposed to, they stay to watch other competitors, they look out for each other, and are simply well-mannered. They stay dressed up throughout the tournament and don't change into sloppy clothes with funky houseshoes. Sure, it may be comfortable, but the other coach put it well today stating that it tells others that they are losers. It creates an image that they don't care about the fact that they may have not made it to semis or finals and all that matters is comfort. When the awards ceremony occurs, they still look professional when receiving awards and support their teammates. At the ceremony, they don't not make a big show of being obnoxious by screaming and hollering so loud it makes others go deaf. They stand for all first place winners in addition to their own teammates when they win. I was very dissappointed tonight when other schools knew that their teammates had won first and they were screaming so much that the second place person didn't get the recognition they deserved. One guy from another school went on stage to receive his trophy with a bucket on his head. Can you imagine? I know kids want to be silly, but there is a time and place for that... which is not at a speech tournament.
After the tournament, we took the kids to eat at a restaurant and I was sitting back watching this group of 21 students and they were all sitting quietly eating. They didn't get loud. They didn't act childish and throw things, unscrew salt shakers or any of that kind of immature behavior.
As I think about this job that I took, I have to say that I am quite relieved that I made this decision. Sure, I could have probably gotten a job elsewhere, but I honestly couldn't ask for a better group of kids.
Some people might think the school I'm at isn't a great place because it is a fairly low socio-economic community that is probably 80% Hispanic. But honestly, I think that the kids are much better in this school than many others I have worked with in the past ten years. Sure, there's a few problem kids in every school and some stinkers in every class. But even the kids that have some behavior issues are not really that bad. They know when to quit. They don't make excuses, nor do they rely on their parents to "bail them out".
I made the right decision about the school. Now, teaching... and everything that comes with that is fodder for another blog, but I really can't complain too much about the students I deal with.

1 comment:

momacakes said...

Wow! I am impressed! THIS is one of the things that gets me all stired up. How casually people dress for most things now days. I am sooo glad to hear that there are kids who are repectful to themselves and those around them. How we dress reflects how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. It sounds like you really have a group of kids to be proud of on so many levels.