When I shouldered the responsibility of Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator at the school I am currently employed, little did I know that it would be challenging and time consuming. For four years I had coached students for Premier’s Debating Challenge and the team that I am referring to even made it to the quarter finals. What came as a surprise to me was the extent of organisation a small event like this required. I had to steer myself from becoming competitive on many occasions and found it very difficult to be satisfied with just letting the students participate and compete without attaching any significance to the team’s victory or loss. Few clever students on the team would have sensed the competitiveness in me and even regarded it as unprofessional or immature. And also being the coach of a boy’s team it was a herculean task to motivate the speakers to speak for the full length of the allocated time as they had the tendency to be succinct and deliver their mature arguments in a condensed, compact style without much elaboration as opposed to the girls’ team, which showed no reluctance in flaunting the gift of the gab bestowed upon them by divine forces. Their usage of anaphora as a powerful tool to render their arguments convincing whether credible or not, beside their ability to speak for the full length of the time, did not fail to impress the adjudicator and appeal to their logos. Till the team graduated out of school, I laboured in vain to improve their manner of delivery and eventually relieved myself of the responsibility vowing never to involve myself in such enterprises in future.
What made me blog about having functioned as a Debating and Public Speaking coordinator is that recently I was fortunate to have met one of the strong orators of the team that I had mentioned earlier. A few minutes of exchange informed me that he was aspiring to be an educator and for some unexplained reason when we indulged in nostalgia and the conversation turned towards attitude of students, he confided in me that he was also a Debating Coordinator at the school he was employed. With a sheepish grin on his face, he confessed how he could not help being competitive and passionate about his team’s performance and wanted them to taste victory each time they competed in debating challenges. Due to external factors, the conversation ended but I realised that it was his way of apologising for being judgmental and critical of me. And each time I replayed the brief exchange I found myself smiling away to glory as poetic justice has been finally restored.