Joyful Chaos – New Jersey Education Association

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By David Reyes

In the role of table games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, there is a concept called alignment, which describes the moral and ethical beliefs of a character. This serves two purposes. We’re going from good to evil and the other is chaotic permit. It is common that the players think of themselves and their actions with respect to these axes.

As educators often concerned about classroom management, we tend to see chaos as a negative thing. But as I sit here writing this, I can not refrain from laying in the happy chaos that is the Gaming Club which I am the advisor.

When I became the adviser of the club last year, we met once a week. Having 2020-21 school year, we met virtually. Students walk around and talk about games, and we used the screen share function to stream games to another.

Finally, one student expressed interest in Dungeons and Dragons (D & D). I play a derivative of D & D called Pathfinder. I agree that if he could get to the players, I would GM (Game Master) campaign. I set up another day for meetings with the small subset of the club. Pathfinder games generally take longer to run than our usual one-hour sessions, so that these meetings would be about two hours. Over time this would adventuring party members loyal and interested club.

As we came back to school days in person this year, I received a request for “Champion”, “the clerk” and “swashbuckler”. They wanted to manage their own games. I was so proud. Not only were they taste their new hobby, they withdrew more people in and take possession of it. As an advisor, I felt that it was a “drag club,” and there was not really need leadership beyond me. But that all changed at the time of the club fair.

Why am I doing this?

After spending an afternoon on Canva making posters for the Game Club exhibit for the show, I had one thought, “Why am I doing this? I sent a message to the inviting club members to work on the bulletin board the next day, but only if they wanted to. Students who attended were the champion, the clerk, the sorcerer, the swashbuckler and a new student club, the investigator. As we worked, I joked with the students, saying that even though our club doesn’t need an executive board, I’d be happy to come back and brag about having served on a board if they wanted to add that their college applications.

The Club Fair was in early October. I planned an escape room for Halloween. I deliberately avoided saying “the Party”, so that they could participate. But when the party learned that I had spent the day working on the event up to 19 hours, they reacted like disappointed parents.

“Mr. Reyes, we could help you! Reprimanded the investigator.” Why do you have on all this work yourself? ”

Soon after, the Party began to take on more responsibilities. Le Clerc became the vice-president and would take it upon himself and clean up after meetings. This eventually turned into all the cleaning party while I escorted the rest of the club out of the building at the end of the day. Soon after we had meetings of the Party at the end of regular meetings and discuss ways to improve the club.

This brings us to now. The Party is currently planning a karaoke night. They have subcommittees for publicity, music choices and technology. They plan to have a concession stand. They do all of this with very little influence from me. My hand is not on the wheel. I’m like a driving instructor with the brake next to the little passenger. That’s all I need.

After a meeting where they explained that they are expanding their roles, the Clerk asked me, “Are you OK with that? Or are you just going with it because it makes us happy? »

I told him that by taking the power away from me, they were also taking some of the blame, not all of it, but just enough that I could sometimes sit back, relax, and revel in the joy of chaos.

David Reyes is a teacher at Linden High School and the school’s Gaming Club advisor. He is a member of the NJEA Early Career Network (ECN). Learn more about REC at njea.org/early-career.

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