Yesterday an eleven-year-old student came to me and said she had finally figured out the meaning of the word 'half'
She'd said she's a great fan of the sitcom Two and a Half Men but could never grasp the meaning behind the series' name. It may seem pretty obvious for us. Not only because we are fluent in English but also for the set of images and the plot of the sitcom - two guys and a teenager trying to live under the same roof. However, for those who don't understand the language these inputs may never be perceived.
Curious as I am, I asked her how she had figured it out (fully aware of the answer, obviously). And then she started: "Well, teacher* remember that last class you taught us how to tell the time? - I was kind of in doubt on how to use the word 'half' but when I saw the sitcom I realized the real meaning of it. Now I know! It means 50% because half an hour is 50% of an hour and half a man is a child."
I was amazed by the strattegies she used to understand it. Nevertheless she went even further: She said she felt that only now that she's learning English she could actually SEE the world.
See the world? At the this time I was thrilled and dying to know what had gone through that little mind. - Then she added: "The only one time when I felt the same way was when I had my first pair of glasses. I could actually see the world and realize how blind I was."
I bet you can picture tears rolling, uh? OMG... That was such a moment and provided me plenty of food for thought.
We, educators are being compared to glasses. We can make people see through different eyes. We can enhance their vision of the world. Change the way they see things. I mean not only physically but also psychologically.
That's how I feel: changing people's lives. Breking long-term mindset and helping them discover a new world.
I hope my students regard me as 3D glasses :-P
* In Brazil, people are culturally inclined to use the noun 'teacher' as a vocative. I am aware that in English it is not, however I let them call me teacher because it evokes a more intimate relation than calling me Mr. Andrade :-)