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Speech and debate educators wear many hats: teacher, mentor, coach, judge, counselor, tech support, book reviewer, and so on. One of our most important hats is advocate. The needs of our students and community are not always recognized or supported by everyone. Either through ignorance, neglect, or malice, sometimes we find ourselves in the position of needing to push for what needs to happen. Thankfully, despite this unideal reality, we are in the ideal community for fostering advocacy skills and modeling them for our students so they can advocate for themselves and others. Advocacy will continue to be a part of our job for the foreseeable future, so we should think about how to do it well.

As educators, we should be  “reflective practitioners,” continually working to grow and learn as educators, advocates, evaluators, and coaches. The goal of this guide is to help you consider various perspectives and reflect on those areas that are necessary to become both successful and impactful as a professional in the realm of speech and debate. 

In our experience, there is no end to our learning as humans, and the same is true in speech and debate, so it is our hope that you will come back to these questions as you gain experience and knowledge.

There is a little room for reflection in our attention-driven technological landscape. So much is competing for attention that it becomes difficult to train ourselves to focus on the things we know actually matter. This reflection guide is much like a journaling practice—it helps us develop reflective habits and think about how to improve our practice. This is a framework that we can use as necessary, and also helps us as educators develop the habits of mind that make reflection a consistent mental habit.

Course Time: 1 hour