The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Well, That Was Poorly Timed

Today I was a supportive services (special education) teacher at Lincoln Trail Elementary in Mahomet. I was happy to return to Lincoln Trail because a) I have had a two wonderful experiences there in the past, b) I have applied for one of their many job openings and am eager to have my name and face known around the school, and c) this guaranteed that I will have worked every day for the first three weeks of this months (since I am already scheduled for the rest of this week and all of next).

While working, I had the opportunity to teach with a very skilled student teacher and a teacher’s aide who does her job very well. The students were eager and participatory today, which was an added bonus. When it comes to special education, it can be kind of a crap shoot: some days are great and some days are not. I was glad to have a good day, and I know that the other teachers were glad, as well. It was also a fairly laid-back day, since the students at Lincoln Trail are finishing up ISAT testing this week and the teachers are, consequently, not loading them up with too much extra work. So, all in all, I had an easy and pleasant day.

Of course, this would be the day that the principal comes by the room to check up on things. And of all the times for her to come by, she just had to visit when the aide was texting the teacher for whom I was subbing (assuring her that all was going well), the student teacher was reading magazines with some boys who had just finished their mornings work, and I was on my phone looking up the etymology of a word that had come up in conversation with the boy who was working with me. (As an aside, the word butcher is not a word with a root and the -er ending. That is to say, a butcher is not one who “butches”–rather, the word butcher comes from French for bouchier, which came from some other word meaning the slaughter of goats. Go figure.)

Anyway, so the principal walks in and sees the substitute teacher doing something on his phone, the aide texting, and the student teacher reading a magazine. Not exactly the best timing in the world. Oh, and none of us realised she was there at first, so she walked in and stood there for a bit observing all of this. Whoops. Fortunately, the aide explained what she was doing, at least. Unfortunately, especially for me, I didn’t even know that it was the principal, so I missed my one opportunity to introduce myself and leave a good impression.

Hopefully this will not reflect poorly on my attempts to secure full-time employment at this school!


5 responses

  1. Would it be out of line to approach the principal, explain why you were playing with your phone? It might lead to a conversation and a better first (or by that time second?) impression.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  2. A random thought: If a butcher is not one who butches, surely a bouchier will bouche, since the noun forms from the verb? If so, then we might will confidence actually say that a butcher butches, because if bouchier is the equivalent of butcher, then it is no great step to arrive at butches being the equivalent of bouche (derived from boucher, I’m guessing).

    March 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

  3. …might *with* confidence… that is.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm

  4. Honestly, I doubt that the principal will remember the incident at all. It was just a funny mishap during the day. In fact, I’d be worried if she did remember.

    Regarding the etymology of the word “butcher”, this is what I learned from the Online Dictionary of Etymology:
    c.1300, from Anglo-Norm. boucher, from O.Fr. bochier “butcher, executioner,” probably lit. “slaughterer of goats” (12c., Mod.Fr. boucher), from bouc “male goat,” from Frank. *bukk (see buck (n.1)) or Celtic *bukkos “he-goat.”

    So if I am reading this correctly, the suffix doesn’t really mean anything; that is, the word butcher is an action involving goats, but the specific action is interpreted by the word “boucher”, rather than an actual root that means “the slaughterer of goats”. If you wanted to translate the word directly, a butcher would be a goater, which doesn’t really make much more sense than the word butcher itself.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm

  5. Your experience reminds me this morning of a time when I subbed long-term in a 4th grade class. I had devised a clever game about exploration for the class. They had to decide what things to take with them to trade with the natives they might encounter. They could choose from a number of things–bells, mirrors, colored cloth, knives, etc. The class was getting excited about the activity and some kids began shouting things out of turn. Then, just seconds after the principal walked in, one little tyke jumped up out of nowhere and shouted, “I’d take leather bras and cocaine!” I seem to recall he did a little provocative dance as he said this. I was never asked back to that school again.

    Anyway, I don’t doubt your reading of the etymology. My point is that the A-S form of the word is a verb form. Bouchier is a noun (because of the -ier suffix) formed from that verb. That pattern can be replicated in English, from Butcher to Butch. We don’t need to worry about the Frankish/Celtic root referring to goat. All I meant was that because the verb-noun works in the French, we could certainly be justified in employing that same pattern in English. I am making a fanciful justification for the use of the verb “to butch.” And why not? If the language is flexible enough to accommodate such malformations as “ho” and “dis” and “offputting”–surely we can butch whenever we wish, eh?

    March 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

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