Different eyes, different perspective

I enjoy class dialogues, especially the unscripted kind. My students get a chance to talk. And I get a chance to learn.

Some of the dialogues can get pretty intense, by any standard, not just for elementary students. Today’s topic for my highest level kids wasn’t too crazy, though, something simple that everyone can relate to: complaining.

After about seven minutes of straight up chatter, I asked them for examples of some of the things they complain about most. I got a lot of typical answers, and heads nodding in agreement:

  • School
  • Homework
  • Cold weather
  • Rainy days
  • Not having enough money
  • Boring teachers
  • More homework

A few of the girls also mentioned that they want to be prettier. One in particular I won’t quickly forget. I asked her what she complains about the most. She said she complains that her eyes are too small.

She and her partner had spent seven minutes talking together about the size of their eyes.

Her partner’s eyes look bigger than hers. Her partner’s eyes look rounder. Her partner’s eyes look more like the countless pairs peering off the ads in the subways, the “after” shots of girls who’ve had the surgery to alter their eyelids.

Does this girl already want that surgery? I don’t know. I’m guessing she’s at least thought about it, probably not seriously as something to do but curiously as something to consider.

After all, she sees the ads in all the subways. She has to wonder.

Thing is, from my American perspective, she easily has the prettiest eyes in class. She honestly doesn’t see that, though, because, to her, her eyes are too small.