I’ve been teaching English at the
local high school for several months now.
I teach there twice a week, and each class is scheduled for two
hours. Two hours is a long time to stand
in front of a classroom. I prepare my
lessons at the beginning of each week and, at this point, I’ve become pretty
good at creating substantial and engaging lessons that fill the time allotted.
So, one Monday, I sat down to plan
my lesson. According to my twenty year
old textbook, I was supposed to teach my students how to describe objects in detail. I knew that I had to find something for the
class to write descriptions about. I
found some things, but being unsatisfied with them, I decided I had a better
So I went to class with
nothing. I taught the required
vocabulary to my students – simple adjectives that they could use to describe things,
how to construct descriptive sentences, etc.
We practiced the new vocab and I answered their questions, and then I divided
them into groups for an exercise.
“Describe me, and when you’re
finished, you’ll present your descriptions to the class,” I told them. This way, I thought, I could teach them
anatomical vocabulary too. How
innovative, I thought at the time. The
students set to work.
My Peace Corps counterpart has
many sons. When I first arrived here, he
explained the meanings of the names he had given them. He translated them for me, pointing each of
them out, saying, “That’s Good Growth, that’s Blessing, that’s Heritage, that’s
Power, that’s Full Power, and that’s Grandpa Power.”
My first thought was that Full
Power was awesome and Grandpa Power was lame.
And what about Power? Why doesn’t
he get some specific kind of power, like Full or Grandpa? Aren’t there any other kinds of power here? Does that mean he inherently gets both, since
the word “power” categorically refers to those sole two kinds? Is he really Full Grandpa Power, but just
goes by ‘Power’ because the ‘Full Grandpa’ makes his name redundant?