A few weeks back, a reader shared this story with me:
"There was a first grader whose teacher gave each child in the class a rectangular sheet of paper and told them to "cut it the long way." Everyone in the class cut their sheet of paper in half from bottom to top except one child who cut it diagonally, which is the longest cut you can make on a sheet of paper. Unfortunately, it wasn't what the teacher had in mind and her teacher told her she was wrong. Teachers who prize creative responses and original thinking by children can make a world of difference in their lives." (Ms. G. Torres)
I love that story. It speaks volumes.
Here's a story with a happier ending. My daughter's pre-K teacher once asked the class to draw peace signs. Most children attempted the familiar symbol of the dove's foot. My daughter, however, somehow misheard the instructions. Remembering her recent time with me at home hunched over a microscope, the world of the minuscule loomed large in her imagination. Instead of hearing "peace sign," she heard paramecium. She drew a picture of the protozoan, just as she had seen it with her own two eyes.
You can imagine the confusion created. Given it was no standardized test, she was not penalized and I shared a good laugh weeks later with her wonderful teacher. Need I mention, my little "Giant" makes Mom so proud. She had drawn the cilia and all!
So, next time you get an answer you don't expect, try to figure out from where the student might be coming. Sometimes, it may beat where you're going!