Well, today has been an interesting day. Some good, some bad. But, since I’m focused on thankfulness, I will focus on the good in this post.
Tonight, I am thankful for my job. Sometimes my job is overwhelming and I’m definitely tired a lot of the time. I’m behind in grading and I think that “just” teaching, rather than having to teach AND coach speech and debate would be so much easier and simpler. Then, I have a night like tonight.
We are getting ready for one of our major on-campus events this week. This event, called The Great Debate, brings together community members and students in a public debate on a controversial public policy issue. Tonight, I was able to sit in on a meeting between one of our community members (an 81 year old, former professor at our University) and one of my students. The community member was amazing. At 81, he is still serving as an expert witness in many very public profile cases (our topic this semester is the death penalty). He had so many great stories and so much information and he has had the most amazing experiences and we got to sit and chat with him and listen to him tell us stories about the cases he has served on (Oklahoma City bombing, Boston bombing, Nightstalker case, and the list goes on and on). He started our University’s CLIC program, a wonderful program for students interested in the legal field that recently celebrated its 45th anniversary. He is working on a couple of cases right now, at 81!
I want to meet up with him for coffee every week and just listen to him tell me stories! I realized tonight that I get to meet fascinating people with an array of backgrounds and that I have been able to develop a foundational understanding of the legal system, our political system, our educational system, etc., etc. all because of participating in and coaching debate. I also listen to things like NPR that lend me a deeper understanding of random things than I might have if I just listened to music in the car, etc. And I’ve watched my fair share of documentaries and such. But, most of my knowledge comes from debate. And I am so thankful that I’ve been able to do this activity for so long and in such a way that has given me so many friends, my husband (!), so much knowledge and such a variety of individuals with whom to interact.
So, today I’m thankful to be a speech and debate coach, despite all of the extra work it is, I feel like I get so much more out of it than I have to give to it.