Monday, March 11, 2013

#11 of 31 It Was a Good 12 Hours

The newbies whine about the early bus time
The vets just smile and know
7:30 is NOT early on 
Contest day.

Computer and projector?

It's rainy and foggy as we head an hour and a half away to our Individual Events State Speech Contest.  The murmur of voices provide the music in my head as I try to sleep a bit more before we get there. I'm going to need all the energy I can muster on this very long day. It's be a good 12 hours before I get back home.

Kids keep asking me where this school is. There is no town by that name. Fountain told them "It goes like this. Corn field, corn field, corn field, school, corn field, corn field, corn field." She's right. That's exactly where this K-12 school is.

The middle of nowhere.

But they run a great contest site.

Kids find a spot on the gym floor to dump their essentials (pillow, computers, hair supplies, dress clothes, books)  and head off to find their performance rooms and check on times. Although we arrive at 9:15, contest has been in full swing since 8:00am. I check us in and we are ready to rock and roll.

I never try and see all the performances at individual contests. As the only coach, it's impossible. At districts, I don't see any of them. We had 43 events at districts this year and many of them went at the same time. Kids buddy up and make sure those that want an audience have one. Those that don't want an audience have someone waiting for them when it's finished. State works the same way, although I do get into a few rooms to see kids.

My job on contest day is to
calm nerves,
fire up the complacent
get ballots to those who forgot to take them,
handle technology issues (yes, the bulb burnt out in the projector before speeches at districts),
hold the kleenex box,
give hugs and high fives
keep track of everyone
tweet results
make sure we don't leave anything in the gym when we leave

and, oh yea....make treats.

The kids settle in and make camp. Girls are doing hair. Others are practicing quietly in a corner, a friend listening in and making suggestions. There are groups just chatting and laughing, hiding the nerves I know are there.

And, I can't forget Andrew, my ukelele player. He's the social butterfly of the group. He didn't qualify for state, but asked to come along anyway. He says he wants to watch the others. I think he's there for the girls. They flock to him. It must be the uke!

In and out of the gym they go all day.
"When do you go?"
"I think that middle judge hated/loved me."
"Wanna go eat?"
"Are your ratings up yet?"
Squeals of joy, "I got a ONE!"
Brave disappointment, "I got a two. But I'm OK with that."
There's a constant checking on center times as most centers are running ahead (thank heavens).

And then, we are done.

It doesn't seem possible, but all have performed. 18 Division 1 ratings. 7 Division 2's. I'm good with that.

It's rainy and foggy as we head an hour and a half back home.  The murmur of voices provide the music in my head as I try to sleep a bit before we get there.

It's been a good 12 hours.


  1. I felt I was with your group, experiencing this, being excited, a bit daunted and yet hopeful. Glad you had the young gentleman with the ukelele - he made me laugh on the tape you'd shared, and I'm sure was as spirited and good humored as seemed to be in the video.

    1. He makes me laugh most every day, ukelele or not. (I also have him in two classes)

  2. Thank you for taking your readers along to this event. How fun! I could put myself into your the one who watched. I love the way you book-ended this piece -- it was a peaceful way to start on a quiet, still morning and end on a tired, still night :). Congratulations!!

  3. Love this. I felt I was right there, and you described your students with such love and compassion. Sounds like it was a terrific, if tiring, day!

  4. You amaze me very year for your patience, talent, love, and endurance! Way to go Coach and Contestants! Another successful season in the books!

  5. Congrats...I love that this has the feel of fun and also similar to a cross country meet (my fav sport to watch). Thanks for sharing that journey... also may there be no more snow days this year to make up ! xo

  6. That is one full day - travel, waiting, patience, practice, nerves. You brought it all together and I felt that I was there with you and your students. Congratulations to your students on the good numbers and to you for being their coach and mentor.

  7. A long, day full of joy and camaraderie. You tell it perfectly.

  8. You wear many hats on days like this. Sounds like it was a full and fun day!

  9. I like how you took us through each part of your day with such delightful snippets -- conversations, supplies, girls doing hair, your own thoughts... what a great way to show us exactly what it was like! This reminds me of when I used to compete in Odyssey of the Mind and Power of the Pen in middle school. Such fun, anticipation, and the anxiety of being rated!

  10. I LOVE "calm nerves and fire up the complacent"! In class, I often say: which of you are motivated by fear? And then I deliver one message. Then, which of you are motivated by love? The same message in totally different language. They laugh, but it seems to work at least a bit.

    This is the kind of "day in the life of a teacher" -- or should I say, "SATURDAY in the life of a teacher" that more people in the outside world need to know about. Bravo! :)

  11. What a day! Sounds like big fun, but also a lot of work! I'll bet you were tired when it was over!

  12. Your description makes me long to be part of this world. As I high school student I had just become interested in the speech competitions when I moved. My new school didn't have a speech team. Maybe I can find a way to get involved now as a teacher. You make it sound so rewarding (exhausting, but in the best possible way).

  13. I wanted to come back to see how the day went. Congratulations, Deb, & to all your kids! You speech teachers do so much for those speech kids. My alums who return who are in speech come back & it's almost always their favorite thing. They adore their teachers & doing it, & I know they work so hard, like you & yours!