Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Word Man

Kids come and go in schools and some make lasting impressions. The reasons you remember more about them are diverse and never predictable. This entry is about Kenny and it is from September 7, 2007.

Kenny is in my sophomore Bible class this year. I met him last Spring at our WCS Talent Show where he performed a rap song I'd never heard of which pretty much covers every rap song of all time. (His entry passed the censors!) Last year was his first at Westbury Christian so I never taught Kenny as an eighth grader. He's doing well in my Gospels class. He pays good attention and is interested in our topic of the day, which this afternoon was the coming together of Joseph and Mary. (Do you know we have zero girls named Mary in our Upper School? There is a plethora of Jessicas but no young lady who shares the name of the mother of the Savior.) I try to increase the vocabulary of our kids by using words they might be unfamiliar with but will need to know for the SAT/ACT exams which help determine where they spend their college years. Last week, I was trying to get the students to guess what word I was looking for and Kenny correctly volunteered jurisdiction. I complimented him as he left that day and I gave him an assignment: find out before class tomorrow the definition of recidivism. He came back with the answer so we kept going. The following afternoon, Kenny informed me of the definition of abysmal. Since then, he has learned the meaning of contiguous and aberration. Tomorrow, his search will be for the term carte blanche. It's making me work coming up with words we should know which aren't too common but also not too far removed from the vernacular. (There's a good one for Kenny!) I'm going to require another planning period just to keep pace with my latest responsibility. Maybe I can get by with an additional teacher's aide.

This is what I like about Kenny: he's searching. I'm throwing him a little extra credit as a token of my appreciation but I can tell it's important to him. He's asked me questions in the hall, at break time, in the cafeteria, etc. It's one thing to want a bonus on your grade but it's another to want to improve your educational resume'. I like kids that love to learn and Kenny falls into that class. Learning a couple of extra words per week might not seem like a big deal to most youngsters but it is a big deal...and Kenny has grasped the significance. I would compare Kenny to the Bereans in Acts 17. They were not content to be stagnant in their knowledge of God's law. What they were told, they investigated:
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Acts 17:11

I respect searchers. Their minds remain in motion and they never stop learning, even if the reward might seem distant or insignificant. Too often, we park our brains and coast. You know, they have found that doing crossword puzzles might forestall Alzheimer's. By Christmas, we will have one student ready for the New York Times Sunday Edition. What's a five letter word for success? I'm going with K-E-N-N-Y.

Applicable quote of the day:
"One forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die."
Evelyn Waugh

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at


Kenny | Daimao said...

Woohoo! Go me. Go me. Lol. I appreciate this very much, Mr. Hawley. My parent's do as well, and you, sir, are a very important influence on my life. Thank you for being here. By the way, Matriculate is to enroll or to register, so dictionary.com said.

Toyin O. said...

You sound like a good teacher.