I don’t know how often I say it to students, but I feel like it is more often than should be necessary. I always tell the students that they can bring any questions about English they have to me. Mostly this seems to be about homework, but I mean it to be more than that. I tell them it can be about things they see or read, things on the subway or things on television. Sadly, very few people take advantage of that.
When I was living in Japan, I was curious about the language, curious about what to say in certain situations, and curious what different Kanji meant. I would ask my teacher or office manager, or even the students when the class was over. I bought sushi at the supermarket and was confused when they charged me half price at the register. I asked my school manager and she explained the 50% off sticker that was attached to it. I kept it in my wallet and referred to it until I had it memorized.
This morning, I only had one student log in. The class is small, but this is the first time I had only one student for the entire time. I had a lesson plan and material, but I suspected that it wouldn’t last the entire lesson if only one student was involved.
Fortunately for me, she came armed with a question about describing where things were on a page, or in a picture. While the words themselves weren’t difficult (on the left, in the top right corner, etc.), I could see that she wanted to use them to communicate something. That was gold. So we worked on that. We expanded it to talk about all different kinds of placements (south of, third from the bottom, etc.). We covered a lot of ground before running out of things and switching back to the planned lesson.
I was so happy to teach something that the student genuinely wanted. It is great teaching them what they need, but giving them something they wanted is great too. Today’s Perfect Moment is doing my job in a way that is a win for me and a win for my student.