The question came out of the blue. “How do we know that the changes you suggest are the best possible changes?” And the question was dipped in teen scorn.
I could sense the teacher, my facilitator for that workshop, bristling at the questioner’s temerity. I motioned her to remain seated. After all, I was the coach, the expert who had traveled all the way to help the students and teachers of the school write better English. Surely, I could handle this?
Some 15 minutes earlier, they had all sauntered in, noticed a stranger with their teacher, deposited their bags and extracted a notebook. While I was being introduced with teacherly gravitas, some 20 pairs of eyes beamed two clear questions at me. “What are you doing here?” “What are we doing here?”
It took a while but I managed to get the notebooks closed and the pens put away.
Most of my jokes ended up wriggling on the floor having bashed their heads against a still-standing wall, but a few managed to loosen some bricks and reveal some smiles. More importantly, I discovered some writers.
“That’s a very good question,” I said, although a good answer was nowhere in sight. Then I took the safe route and smashed it right back! “Would any of you like to answer that question?”