Teaching a class of 12 year-olds today, one student asked me how life first began.
[she was supposed to be conjugating the present tense of avoir]
“Can you narrow it down a bit for me?” I asked.
“Well, something had to start something so what started everything?” Lucy replied.
“It’s a kind of Chicken & Egg Theory question, that one.”
“What do you mean, Sir?” she persisted.
“Whenever we contemplate the origin of anything we often ask ourselves: what came first… the chicken or the egg? Some questions we just can’t answer. Not yet anyway.”
Lucy stared at nothing in particular but her wheels were turning.
“And now I’ve confused you,” I joked.
“Only because you’re confused, Sir,” she stated, as respectfully as possible. “The answer to the Chicken & Egg Theory is easy. Chickens are birds. Birds are descendants of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs didn’t give birth to live young but laid eggs. Therefore, the eggs some dinosaurs laid eventually became birds, some of which evolved into chickens.”
A colleague once told me, “The best thing about being a teacher is that we are indeed the smartest person in the room.”
Some days I’m not so sure.