I was the teacher in an adult education center, but I learned from my student. In my creative writing class, the homework had been to write about an object that had great personal significance. I asked the students to put their objects on the table so we could see them before we learned the stories behind them.
Once woman had rushed in late and slapped her mobile phone down on the table. I assumed that she had forgotten the homework and was going to make up a story about an object that she just happened to have on hand. I couldn't have been more wrong.
It turned out that she was waiting for a kidney transplant and her mobile phone was literally her lifeline, as the call that a kidney was available could come at any time of day or night. I will never forget the way the class came together to support this incredible person, and I also learned not to assume anything.
I took a class on Development Economics in college that changed everything for me, taught by a gentleman named Jamee Moudud. Up until that point something felt very wrong about the political world (this was just after 9/11 in NY) but it was difficult for me to articulate a good critique. Learning these concepts of economic theory and the impact on our social structure gave me a perspective and language for discussion in much more concrete terms. Total "Eureka!"