November 20, 2023 (newsweek.com) – Darren Kessler been teaching in NYC since 1991. He began coaching the I.S. 239 – Mark Twain Intermediate School debate team in Coney Island in 2016 and their team became part of the NYC Urban Debate League in 2018. He had been a NYCUDL Summer Camp pod-leader the past three years. It gives him great satisfaction to have guided his students to this wonderful activity and to have played a small role in helping them find their voice in the world.
In competitive debate, we understand the concept of impact to mean the reason why a particular argument is important. All of the energy and effort put into the creation of your argument, or for participating in debate at all, is lost if you cannot identify and convey why what you say matters.
Like many teachers before and since, I began my career with a vague desire to make a difference and to inspire a love for knowledge. In the absence of any other driving passion, it seemed like a worthy path to pursue. In my third decade in a middle-school classroom, I had begun to question if what I’d been doing mattered at all to the thousands of students with whom I’d been entrusted. What impact had I made?