My husband and I were recently in Mexico for four days. It was a trip he earned through his job and believe me, we were well aware that we'll probably never get this opportunity again, so we tried to make the most of it.
On one of the days, we signed up for a bus tour that took us to some important sites, through a Mexican town, and ended up at Chichén Itzá, Mayan ruins that were built during the 500's. It was a wonderful trip; we learned so much, and the ruins were some of the most spectacular things I've seen in my life.
During one of our stops we disembarked for lunch; it was delicious. We sat at a table with people from all over the world: England, Mexico, India, Colombia. Our closest seatmates both spoke Spanish, and my husband and I each have a passable ability to understand and speak some Spanish. One of my very favorite things from the day was talking with a woman from Mexico and a man from Columbia and learning about them through their beautiful and our (very broken) Spanish. Several times we were trying to explain something and had to talk all around the idea in order to get to what we were trying to communicate.
On the bus trip itself our guide would give part of the lecture in Spanish and then would translate it into English. I had to pay close attention to the Spanish, and even then I missed probably 50% of what he was saying, and that which I understood I'm sure I only understood at a very rudimentary level.
The whole experience got me thinking about what so many of my students go through daily when they come to school. They are listening as best they can, but it's not their native language, so they are understanding as much as they can, as best they can.
If those few hours were exhausting for me, I can only imagine what it's like for them, day after day. It renewed my empathy.
Like I said... teachers can turn anything into a learning experience. :)