Saturday, 22 June 2013

Time versus Money

That was the first round's motion for our Kelantan's state-level debate competition. To be honest, i thought that was highly bias, but when we actually sat down to brainstorm ideas, it is funny how we could find substantial points to support both sides.

Here's a quick recap of what had happened prior to our debate competition.

1. As usual, in our Gua Musang's PPD, most of the time we do not have inter-school competitions, but rather selected ad-hoc to represent the district for certain state-level competitions (horrible but true). Unfortunately, this time around, our school was selected for English Debate, and no prize for guessing who's the teacher-in-charge @_@

2. English is not a second language here in GM, but rather a foreign language. Getting students to know very basic English is hard as it is, let alone debate in the language. I knew i had a mountain in front of me.

3. Using our English Week, we held debate competitions and surprisingly the interest exceeded our expectation. We thought forming two teams to compete would be difficult but we ended up with 7! Then again, the students (with no debate experience and very minimal guidance from me since we lack time) made the debate sessions rather hilarious or even hard to watch. Not only their English competency was just not at par with their age, they were throwing out sweeping statements, ending their speeches below 2 minutes, reading heavily from their wikipedia-sourced notes, and turned POI into emotional and baseless arguments. It was rather painful to watch. But i observed each of them carefully and applauded for their courage to attempt such a big task, and finally narrowed them down to 4 kids whom i could train. I knew chances of us advancing would be difficult, but i was very encouraged by their jest and willingness to learn, and so we started the training.

4. Our training was really productive, as i used a lot of different oral techniques to encourage them to talk, and taught them how to make critical arguments. They were speaking English (albeit its brokenness), proactive in researching for points, and getting hyped up for the competition.

5. The D Day came, and the kids were petrified. But with the huge inefficiency of the Kelantan's JPN, instead of starting at 8.30am, the students were only quarantined at 10+. The long wait probably helped my kids to relax quite a bit. When they were released from their quarantine, to their horror, instead of being ushered to one of the small rooms for their debate session, they were ushered to the school hall, and paired with a SBP school from Bachok. Not only were they freaked out, I guess i was too lol.

6. I was at the edge of my seat as i sat through their debate. Our team became the Opposition and had to fight for 'Money'. When my first speaker stood up, everyone in the hall could hear the quiver in her voice, but she quickly calmed herself down and went on with her points. I cringed from time to time at her glaring grammatical errors, but i was impressed by how she pulled it through. One by one, the speakers from both sides had their speeches over and done with, POI was pretty strong from my team, and to everyone's surprise, our points were stronger and more believable than the Government's team. Despite being pulled down if we are comparing the fluency between our team and the other, in terms of style and substance, i knew we had a chance.

7. Then came the reply speech. My second speaker took up the challenge and went strong. Just as she was about to end her speech, she did something to everyone's horror. With a slip of tongue, she confidently said, "with that, we the opposition believed that TIME is more important than MONEY. With this i rest my case."
You could almost hear everyone gasped in disbelief. I knew then, it was over.

8. True enough, the Government won the motion, and my kids looked down and defeated. Just when i was reviewing their performance, identifying their big mistakes but telling them how much pride i have for each one of them, the Chief Adjudicator walked towards us. She congratulated my team saying that they did great and even told them that in terms of the points accumulated, we should have won; but because of the huge mistake done during the reply speech, we 'threw away' our stand and handed the victory to the opposing team. I was extremely thankful to her for making the effort to explain to my kids as i saw their faces lit up! And instead of playing the blaming game upon that second speaker of ours, they were fired up (knowing they could have won) and said they are going to try harder next year :)
There and then, i was one proud mama.

Being a teacher is really not an easy task. Sometimes you feel like you could not carry on, sometimes you feel like you are victimised, and sometimes you feel like you hate what comes with your job... But then there are times, you just feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to be part of your students' lives, to be acknowledged and appreciated, and to know that you did your best for someone other than your own self.

So to teachers out there, be proud of yourself. You are doing a great job.

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