When I was in the fifth and sixth grade, Ruth Katz was my teacher. She was fearsome and effulgent to this timorous eleven year old. I now know she was daring and dedicated and delighted in the wonder of watching her students grow. But back then? Hoo.
She once made us collect little bits of trash so we could make “found art” mobiles out of our collected bottle caps, sea glass, driftwood and pop-tops. She “surrendered” her class each Halloween to a comely witch who looked and sounded just like our Mrs. Katz, but turned the lesson plan on it’s head to spin eerie stories and make us regale her. (Even the second time I saw this happen, when I was 98% sure this was Mrs. Katz herself, I still followed the witch’s instructions for the day … just in case.) She was dedicated and dumbfounding.
As it happens, those things I once thought frivolous actually made me a better person. Without question, she gave me a love of language, by starting each school day with the “Leapin’ Lexicon”. Over 200 index cards, all with a unique and terrifying words for us to learn by day’s end.
It’s now thirty years later, and I whenever I use (or hear used) those words, I know what a powerful gift she gave me. Colloquy. Braggadocio. Serendipity. Loquacity (yeah you know me)! All these came from her, and her formidable nature, and even now I’m humbled.
What words are in your Leapin’ Lexicon? Teach me something novel!
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.