Thou shall not correct


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.

The thaw

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?”



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