One of the biggest compliments a student can give a teacher is to come back years later and still ask questions because something inside them believes that you know everything about your subject.
And parents who see you years later and say, “Your name came up again at dinner.” (I always apologize for that one.)
I love it when students ask me things I don’t know. It gives me a chance to share with them the wonder of learning, of discovery. I am not afraid to stop a lesson so right at that moment we can go figure out the answer to the best question I’ve heard in a long time. And then, as we pick back up our lesson, I keep referring back to our newly discovered bit of information—validating not only the questioner, but the fact that we get to keep learning.
So the next time a student/or former student asks you something like: “when is the Battle of Red Cliffs” and your brain frantically starts sifting through wars trying to get some sort of reference point and all you can think of is Red River in the American Civil War or Red Mountain which might have something to do with a video game like Skyrim or Elder Scrolls…just smile and offer to Google it for them. Your willingness to help answer that Fruit Ninja question will keep you as a valued source of information in their lives.
And just so you know? 208. It marked the end of the Han Dynasty.