My students come from places all across the globe. They come from big cities and small towns. They come from warm climates, humid climates, dry climates and climates that are not too dissimilar to my own. They come to study, to explore, maybe to test themselves and whether they meant it or not, know more about themselves and grow a little.
Today’s perfect moment is born out of experiences I have often, but that today, I took a moment to appreciate. Perhaps that is not so different from most perfect moments. We see them, but only upon reflection can they be seen for what they are.
Today’s perfect moment was a student reaction. They were genuinely surprised that I knew some trivial information about their country. Their eyes widened and they collectively gasped, sounding not unlike air escaping a horn. This seems to happen a lot when someone has taken an interest in their culture.
What was this piece of trivia? Though I cannot remember exactly what it was it was probably one of a number of things I have learned about my students and their countries. It could have been:
- The name of a professional sports team
- A more obscure food item
- A slightly obscure entertainer
- The name of a subway or train stop
- A food product
- The name of one of their beers
In my most cynical moods, I consider this little more than a bit of a parlour trick. When I am feeling more positive, I tend to regard it as a little more substantial than that. While they are learning English and experiencing the good, bad and absurd in Canada, I am learning about them. It’s a poorly signposted two way street. Can I help it if the only things that stick are less than relevant pop culture references?
Parlour trick though it may be, it does seem to make students feel good and contribute more. I guess it is nice when someone takes an interest in your country and your culture, regardless of how deep it is.