It was been brought to my attention last week that I have a tendency to use words that bamboozle and flabbergast my students.
I don’t do it on purpose. The words just pour out. They cascade from me before I have vetted my audience. I have to translate about half of what I say to them. I spend twice as much time talking as I should.
I come from a lover of language. My mother, a librarian and avid book gorger, fed me books from a young age. I could read before I went to school, much to their annoyance. At aged 5, they had sent me home with a book with just pictures in it, at which I scoffed and asked for something a little more my own age.
By aged 9, I had read all the children’s books in our local library and was constantly ordering things in. I moved on to vetted teen titles and by aged 12, I spent my evenings reading Shakespeare, Daphne du Maurier, Dickens & Terry Pratchett, as well as the fluffy reads like the Goosebumps series, which began my horror novel obsession.
I am also lucky to have fallen on my feet with a partner who puts up with my lavish embellishment of the english language. Although I’m sure he reads the dictionary at night, once I’ve gone to bed, because he beats me everytime at Scrabble.
The turning point, my realisation, came last week when one of the young people gave a perfect example of an analogy, to explain group dynamics. I praised him, and he rolled his eyes and shrugged. “What’s an analogy?”
Other staff shrugged, unable to explain it. Which prompted my need for my ‘Posh Word of the Day’ on the whiteboard in the classroom.
I try and use words the students will hear in the future, and ones that may be used in their reports or that services may use in front of them. I also love to chuck random fun ones in there (ones that just sound good!), just so they are constantly broadening their minds. For example, this week has included ‘onomatopoeia’, ‘insipid’ and ‘gesticulation’.
I include phonetics underneath so they know how to pronounce it, and a short definition.
I know it’s a winner when I was told this afternoon not to be pedantic!
Any suggestions for my ‘Posh Word of the Day’?