“Imagination is greater than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.”
I was 22 and in my first month ever of teaching when a student taught me a defining lesson about education and my responsibility as a teacher. It is one I still think of often, more than twenty years later.
We were studying the alphabet in French. I pointed out that “W” in French was called “double v” as opposed to being called “double u” like it is in English. I explained that in French it is the combination of two ‘v’s instead of two ‘u’s.
Alyssa let out a sad sigh. Her classmates and I looked over at her. She said “You ruined it. ‘W’ was always my favorite letter; it was so funny and special and now it’s nothing anymore, just two ‘u’s mushed together.”
I knew just what she meant, we all did. I’m sure you do too.
I did the only appropriate thing there was to do, the only authentic thing I can imagine having done, even today after so long and so much experience with a thousand different classroom scenarios: I apologized.