I always start class by asking each of my students a questions (eg. Where do you want to travel? What is your dream job?), and having them ask me one question each. Due in large part to their limited knowledge of the English language, their inquiries are usually relatively boring; they’ll ask things such as “What fruit do you like?” or “How old are you?”
Yesterday I was teaching some of my favorite High School students. This particular group of kids is super smart and their English is near perfect. I knew they had it in them to ask me more well thought out questions than “What animal do you like?” (P. S. - I like unicorns).
I challenged them to ask me something that they had never asked me before, and something in which they were genuinely interested in knowing my answer. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of questions I received. After meditating on the challenge for a few minutes, my students threw me back some curve balls such as “Why did you come to Japan?”, “What’s your favorite thing about Canada?” and “If I gave you ¥1000000000, what would you do with the money?”
One student’s question and the conversation it provoked, however, really stood out and I haven’t been able to stop pondering it since. A boy named Kento asked me the following:
“When you were my age, 15 years old, what were your dreams?”
I told him that I had always wanted to travel the world.
He replied, “You’re doing that right now, aren’t you? You are a very long way from your home country.”
“I guess you’re right,” I mused.
“What else do you dream of?” he continued.
“I really want to help people,” I said, not giving specifics for fear of revealing my innermost dreams incase I fail to fulfill them.
“You’re doing that right now too,” he immediately replied. “You help me every time you teach this class. Maybe you should dream bigger.”