A Latin teacher at last

October 13th, 2012 | Tags: ,

So, it turns out that lightning struck while I was busy feeling great about my progress in the MAT program. I applied for a Latin teaching position at a local high school, thinking it would turn out to be great interview practice, but I impressed the assistant principal well enough that he moved heaven and earth to get me into the position. I’ve been teaching now for two weeks, but it feels like an eternity. I’ve got more than a handful of work, but this is the dream. Absolutely, without condition. I must become the person who can plan, for my students are depending on me to be able to. But first things first: I must pass the Latin PRAXIS, scheduled for 3 Nov. If I don’t, none of this matters. If I do, I open the door to (potentially) a lifetime of perpetuating the glory of lingua Latina!

The greatest challenge is figuring out how to get the attention of the Latin I kids in 4th block, the last period before school ends. They’ve had lunch and the day is nearly over, so they’ve lots of energy. I need to find a way to channel it judo-style to trick them into learning despite their best efforts. It’s not helped that this week they’ve missed two full days of instruction due to the PSAT and then the pep rally before homecoming. My 1st block Latin Is are doing a little better, both because they’re not as rambunctious and because they’ve not been missing as much instruction, so I must take care not to let them slip too far ahead.

My Latin III students are another facet entirely in this gem of joy. Though their retention of the forms is not solid, they are adjusting to my increased expectations, and I think we will do some profound things before the semester is over. I have adjusted their curriculum; we’re now reading actual Latin instead of the constructs in Fabulae Romanae, and I think they’re catching on quickly. Eutropius, as late as he is, is a very regular writer, so they aren’t flipping out at the difficulty. I have them on a regimen of noun declensions at night and verb synopses in the morning, so that soon they will begin to differentiate between the two as we read.

And, in all of this, I am rekindling my own love of Latin. I thought I had set it aside, allowed it to become the faintest hope of achievement. Now I am faced with the fact that I must actually teach it after dreaming for so long. And I catch myself returning to it in odd moments, doing it because it is simply fun.

I can be only thankful for this opportunity I have prepared for and finally received. Now to make the most of it!

  1. Gauk
    October 14th, 2012 at 13:57
    Reply | Quote | #1

    That’s fantastic!

    My pre-calc teacher used to tell a really interesting story for the first half of the class and then squeeze his lesson into the second half. He took advantage of some kind of attention inertia once he had ours.

  2. Steve Killen
    October 14th, 2012 at 16:36
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Part of the trouble is that the source of the trouble is a handful of 10th grade boys, and there’s not all that much to be done to change that fact ;-) (It is certainly a usage study on the word sophomoric.) I have adjusted their seats on the seating chart with some degree of success, but the dynamic is still quite chattersome. I will call the parents of the students who seem to be instigating it the most, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

    As you say, got to get their attention from the start. I have begun hypercaffeinating in the half-hour before the class starts, so that my energy level matches or exceeds theirs. That also seems to have some success.

    We shall see…