I truly fail at blogging. November has been a tough month for me. It started off with the debate competition and melted into continuous busy work that never seemed to subside. Every time I sat down to blog, I was met with either 1) hunger 2) sleepiness 3) both of the above. Anyways, here it goes.
Starting October 16th or so, I stayed at work until 9pm every Tuesday and Thursday to train students for the debate competition. I had a MAG4, MAG5, and PAS7 team. There was also MGT5 (I don’t teach them normally). We had two topics to prep both pro/con side for. The month was tiring and the organized schedule I envisioned turned into “let’s take what we can get.” We even stayed until 10pm the night before the competition. That night also happened to be my birthday. By that night, I was way too worried to even give a shit so I just stayed and prepped with the kids.
On Saturday, November 8th, I met Chelsea and Mark at the subway station to travel down to Ansan. It was a 72-minute subway ride… FML. When we arrived in Ansan, we had to take a 10 minute cab ride to get to the university campus.
Seongbuk Poly was literally the first to arrive. Chelsea and I met up with Chloe and Tony and their parents. The lovely picture above expresses exactly how they felt that morning. We sat around waiting because it is an Asian event after all. When we saw that most schools were prepping, we decided to “prep” as well. Tony’s idea of prepping involved playing phone games. We weren’t allowed to say which school we were from so there were codes we had to look out for. My PAS7 team did extremely well. What I loved about them was that they were prepared to sound unprepared. Chloe is the blatant “I got this down” type of speaker. Chelsea is the eloquent “Think about this carefully” speaker. Tony is the gum-chewing, hair flicking, “I woke up like this” type of speaker. I really wanted their personalities to shine through their presentations.
I loved giving them tips in between the debate rounds. It was more like coaching than teaching. Mr. Gorin was there too so he gave some really good advice as well. We had 설렁탕 amp; 갈비탕 for lunch. It was a good ol’ time eating with the kids and their parents. Watching Tony eat was absolutely hilarious. If I ever had a kid, it’d probably be Tony. We headed back to the auditorium afterwards to wait for the awards ceremony. By then, we were all in a food coma and ready for a nap. Mr. Gorin amp; Sera had to go back and meet the 4th-5th graders who were just arriving for the day. PAS8 held their final debate onstage and that shit was INTENSE.
Tony won 3rd Best PAS7 Speaker. Chloe won 2nd Best PAS7 Speaker. Our team won 3rd place overall. All in all, it was a wonderful time. We only had one team representing the PAS program and we took home 3 awards. I was so proud (still am) of my kids. My waterproof eyeliner was literally smudging. After the ceremony ended, I dashed over to watch the debates for the 4th and 5th graders. Each round was intense, but my kids pulled through and represented Seongbuk Poly well.
Our MGT5 team won 1st place overall! Lion (yes his name is Lion) also won 2nd Place Best MGT5 Speaker. Overall, Seongbuk POLY did very well. I heard we won the most trophies and medals this year. I’m glad I got to experience this competition process. I was really hesitant to teach debate this year, but after going through this competition, I feel like I FINALLY know what I’m supposed to do in class. Debate is truly a sport. And you have to coach it versus teaching it. Since we’ve been back from the competition, all of my students are super motivated and excited for debate class. MAG4 learned a lot and they now have this fire to them. It puts a tear in my eye every time I hear them get excited about debate.
Again, I’m glad I went through this competition stuff. Those late nights eating kimbap at POLY paid off. I am so proud of all the participants. My babies made me proud.