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Say What, Now?

Next semester, I’m supposed to be teaching an etymology class.  Having never taught etymology, I made it clear when I was hired that I could teach it as long as I had books.  This class has never been taught at this school, and there are currently no books.  So I had to do my own research and find my own books (even though someone else had determined this was the class to be taught).  I passed the book order onto the lady who takes care of those things.  I’ll call her Dottie.  One morning when I was in the office, Dottie said to me, “You’re not getting any books this year.”

I’m sure the color drained from my face.  “Please tell me you’re kidding me,” I said.

“I am kidding,” Dottie replied.

“Oh, thank goodness,” I sighed.  “You nearly had me in a panic.”

“That’s all it takes?” she asked.  (I guess I just don’t get her sense of humor or something.)

“Yep,” I said.  “I’m willing to teach the class, but not without books.”

Dottie laughed, “Just bring in some bugs and have the kids study them.”

I squinted my eyes at her, not sure if she was joking me again.  I determined she wasn’t.  “This class is etymology.  Not entomology,” I explained.  “Words, not bugs.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed, so I thought she understood.

A few days later, Dottie had me in a panic again.  She thought she had ordered the books, but then couldn’t find the order or somehow determined she had not ordered them, and she couldn’t find my purchase request.  Thank goodness I had copied it.  So I ran to my room to get the paperwork, zipped to the office to make a copy of my copy, and brought it back to Dottie, who then got online to look for the books.  She read the description and then said, puzzled, “Wait.  This says vocabulary.  That can’t be right.”

Ummmm… didn’t we go over this already?  “Yes,” I said.  “Etymology is the study of words.  Greek and Latin derivatives, that sort of thing.”

“Oh,” she said again.

I really hope I get the right books.  I don’t know a darn thing about bugs.


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

3 responses »

  1. Hi, Karen: Funny, my interest in the subject of words bugs me. Just yesterday I was going through the internet trying to find some information on how to take some courses along that line. I found ‘virtually’ nothing, but I have many ideas as to what could be dealt with. Now the problem would be to arrange it and make your own syllabus. That would be a good subject I could truly sink my mental acuity into. I would suggest checking with Wycliffe Bible Translators’ educational arm, the Summer Institute of Linguistics. They may have a syllabus for beginners which would help you. My idea would run in the area of definitions of phonetics, phonemics, and their derivatives, such as letter combinations used as clues to the original source of words. These are used extensively by the spelling bee champions, who will ask for the original derivation of the word, the use of a word in a sentence and other pertinent info in order to arrive at the correct spelling of words w/o actually being told the spelling of it. I have so many ideas that they are whirling around in my mind right now, that my brain feels like a blender in the ‘pure’ setting. If and when you come up with a textbook, let me know. I would love to study it out. And if you choose to write your own syllabus, I believe you are married to one person who could help you immensely, and you have an uncle (myself) who is enormously interested and would be glad to do anything necessary to help you along.

    Hoping to help,

    Uncle Lynn

    >________________________________ > From: oldfangled >To: >Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2012 5:02 PM >Subject: [New post] Say What, Now? > > > >oldfangled posted: “Next semester, I’m supposed to be teaching an etymology class. Having never taught etymology, I made it clear when I was hired that I could teach it as long as I had books. This class has never been taught at this school, and there are currently no bo” >

  2. Interesting insights about your situation, and how my brother’s mind works.
    Hope you get the right books. Those problems used to bug me as well.

  3. Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    Begin forwarded message:


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