Unexpected permission

One of the little things I like about my new job: because vocabulary is part of the curriculum, I have liberated my inner etymologist and, I hope, am assisting my students to find theirs.  “Is ‘cursory’ related to ‘cursor,’ like the little blinking thing on the computer screen?  Why, yes!  Both are from cursor, Latin for ‘runner.’  See, the cursor runs across your screen as you type, and a ‘cursory’ glance is when you run your eye over something!  Cool, innit?”  I used to do this kind of stuff in college classes a bit–I had a whole shtick worked out for “analysis” which I’m sure I’ll get to use many times in high school–but I like feeling that it’s part of the job instead of extra bonus information that most people probably didn’t even bother to write down.  And the six months of Greek I took in college (I dropped it second semester, halfway through the Apologia) are finally coming in handy.

I know I’m not going to be able to write very lengthy blog posts this month, but I do want to keep blogging, and also drawing upon the invisible people to keep me accountable.  I tried putting together a goal list for March, but so many things are floating and unpredictable that I think I’ll just blog about my individual goals.  So, my individual goal for Monday (and it will probably have to happen after work) is writing a recommendation letter for a writer I know who is up for a much-deserved honor.  This is not someone I know well–just well enough to know that s/he is a good candidate.  I’d hoped to do it over the weekend, but was waiting on some additional info which has now arrived.  Will update Tuesday.


One response to this post.

  1. Oh, exactly! I had never taught vocabulary before in any official sort of way, and now it is one of my favorite parts of the job. What I have found — and this is similar to your liberating your inner etymologist — is that I now give free reign to my vocabulary in class, because the students will ask what the word means, and I’ll tell them, and it’s not a digression but an important part of their education in my class. And the students are so darned cute with using their new vocabulary words; we all try to use the words in normal sentences during the day, and then smirk among ourselves when we do so successfully. Seriously, high school is so liberating for the big dork in me! Some of the student enthusiasm is that they’re all gearing up for the SATs and so think of vocabulary acquisition as a really important thing to do, but some of it is also just that they tend to be so much more enthusiastic about the little things than I’m used to with college students.

    One day at lunch a week or so ago, one of the math teachers was complaining that students never used such-and-such word anymore (I can’t remember which word it was) and that it was falling out of circulation. One of the other teachers at the table walked into her afternoon classes, taught her students the word, and then made a bet with them about how many of them could correctly use the word in a sentence in conversation with the math teacher in the next twenty-four hours. If they used it correctly, they had to get him to sign a piece of paper attesting to this fact. Twenty-something students used the word in conversation with him, and everyone was full of geeky fun over the entire experience.


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