Monthly Archives: October 2015

Gone But Not Forgotten

That’s me…and my relationship with words. I think about their structure every day. And I miss making structural and etymological discoveries with students…

I decided to check the old blog today and discovered, according to my Clustrmap widget, that people are still frequenting the site. So perhaps I should explain the lack of new posts.

I am still at ZIS, but I have moved to the Middle School to teach math. It has been a welcome new challenge, but I certainly miss my 5th grade blog community, particularly those with orthographic interests.

Over the October break my family went to Ghana on a service-learning trip with the school. It was a magical experience on many accounts, and one that afforded the opportunity to share orthography with an incredibly eager group of students at our partner school, founded by my good friend Ibrahim Oubda, near Kumasi.

Of course whenever I was asked to teach I focused on word structure. And it will come as no surprise to this community that the children loved it…and understood it…and wanted more. There was no internet access, so no Douglas Harper to guide us, but that was fine. We were still able to explore morphology, etymology (mostly synchronic), and phonology. I didn’t record any of our sessions, unfortunately. You would have enjoyed seeing the kids, in an open-to-the-elements classroom, standing up each time they wanted to share, referring to me as “Sir”, and all of them, from young to old, paying attention, contributing, and learning.

A few girls, Mary, Patience, and Scholastica (yes…her actual name), “claimed” me during the week, something that happens on all these trips apparently. They followed me around, wrote me letters, and consequently we became quite close. At one point late on the last day, not long before tears started to flow (me included) at our departure, I asked the girls to spell ‘unhelpfully.’ Every one of ’em nailed it! And so proud!

Made me think this math thing was a bad idea… 🙂