3.3 Fall 2021

October 26, Debate Surprise

In other dramatic news, Jenny and I found out from the Office of Education that the debate tournament, finally on the official schedule, is actually a required event.

Required for all students.

As you may know, getting even three of the ten students to show up for the debate class has been… a challenge. Strangely, the debate class itself is not mandatory but the tournament is. Not surprisingly, when Jenny broke the news in the group chat, she was ignored by half the students and rejected by the rest.

“But teacher, I really don’t think I can go that day.” Sure.

“But teacher, we have a mandatory event for school that day.” On Saturday?

“But teacher, debate class was supposed to be fun and informative. Making the debate tournament necessary with two rounds plus a presentation is stressful.” I would agree, except that particular student only came to class twice this year.

I am at a loss. Are we supposed to drive to the students’ houses and drag them from bed? Furthermore, I’m not sure how we’re supposed to help the students prepare for the tournament next month seeing as the class has concluded… Zoom? Email? Telegram?

That’s all to say I feel especially bad for Jenny, who reluctantly agreed to be a debate teacher in the first place because no one else in town stepped up. Now she’s feeling the squeeze from both the officials and the students.

And if, or when, the students do make it to the debate tournament– I wouldn’t put it past them to register and then simply not show up– their performance is going to reflect directly back on Jenny and me. Then the department will come a knocking to ask what we did with all the funding if this is the best we could do.

Am I catastrophizing? Maybe. In any case, it’s quite likely there will be no debate class in our city next year considering the (non) turnout.

I like to think that another Korean surprise will knock this one out of the way, if we can just hang on long enough.

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