This past Friday, (September 14), I was so thankful to be a teacher and so insanely proud of my students. My colleagues in the Social Studies/History department at my school at been planning a Constitution Day Program since the beginning of the school year. I had said I would contact the guest presenter we wanted. This particular presenter is the dad of an English teacher in our building and does a tremendous job portraying a Revolutionary-era farmer sharing thoughts on the Constitutional Debates. We had him at the school two years ago and he was great. Because of busyness I somewhat let the ball drop on contacting him and setting up the date for him to come and present at school this year.
In an effort to save the Constitution Day plans, I proposed a plan B. I asked eight of my students if they would engage in a Federalist v. Anti-Federalist debate. They all agreed and were excited about doing the debate, but they were pressed for time to prepare. I also had a crazy week that took me out of class quite a bit this week with other meetings and such. The day before the scheduled debate, I began to see just how enthusiastically they were preparing. I was at my state department of education office that day working on a standards revision team and I kept getting message after message asking about things about the debate. I knew I had chosen some great students for this role. Still, though I was nervous.
Friday morning came and we all showed up early and eager to get started. As with any event of this nature, I was not sure how it would go until we started. After the first of seven total performances, I was already impressed with my students. By the end of the day, I was completely blown away by both their passion and their knowledge. My superintendent and the head of secondary schools even came to a part of the debate and both were impressed.
I wish I would have had more time to help prepare the students for the day and help them design their debates. I trusted them though. I also have spent over a year investing in relationships with these students. I think these two factors actually had much to do with the success of the day. I believed they would excel an
d they did.