If it'd been a snake, it would've bit me

Often, I wonder, Why don't my students get it? Why don't they see what I see? Perhaps it's because they're not looking where I am.

Well, just the other day, I wasn't looking where I should have been. Trying to find my car, I zig-zagged through the parking lot, turning my head left and right. Where was my car? I couldn't find it. I finally stopped, looked left and right again, didn't see it, but just as I started to walk again--I looked down and there it was: one foot in front of me. If it'd been a snake, it would've bit me.

Similarly in language "seeing," I remember while in Istanbul I once asked a minibus driver in Turkish if he would go by Mecidiye. Each time he answered, "No speak English." On the third time, an elderly man behind him leaned forward, saying, "Türkçe konusuyor" (He's speaking Turkish). And then the driver could understand me. He had been listening for English, not Turkish. He hadn't been hearing where the other passenger was hearing.

And the converse is true, too. We don't understand why our students don't get it, because we aren't seeing where they're looking. To be able to see with them (and they with us), our most valuable skill may be that of listening to our students, listening to understand what they understand, in order to build a bridge between our understandings.