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An Austronesian’s Adventures in Altertumswissenschaft and Indogermanistik

21 February 2006

Carnival: National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week

Prof. Jenny Strauss Clay (Virginia), President of the APA, writes to the membership in an e-mail:

National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week (March 6–10, 2006) is coming up. The APA, the American Classical League, and regional classical associations all join in sponsoring this critical initiative to strengthen the teaching of Latin nation-wide at the K–12 level. We are facing a scarcity of Latin teachers throughout the country, a scarcity that can and has led to the elimination of Latin programs. The demand, however, is out there, and we must ensure the availability of bright and enthusiastic teachers at all levels. As I can attest from our experiences here in Virginia, pre-college teaching is an attractive career for all kinds of classicists including PhDs.

Each of us can contribute to this effort in different ways. [...] The National Committee for Latin and Greek has an excellent web site ( that includes flyers and offprints that can be downloaded as well as helpful suggestions for encouraging participation.

(Links added.) As a focused (albeit contemplative) outreach effort, I’d like to host a blog carnival open to blogging (and non-blogging but blog-reading) Classicists, especially pre-collegiate teachers, and other interested parties. For each day of the recruitment week, let us focus on a theme. I suggest the following:

  • Monday, 6 March
    How did you get started in Greek/Latin/Classics? What influenced you to pursue more than one course?
  • Tuesday, 7
    Discuss a memory or memories of something(s) cool you learned in a Greek/Latin/Classics class.
  • Wednesday, 8
    Discuss a memory or memories of something(s) cool you taught in a Greek/Latin/Classics class.
  • Thursday, 9
    How has training in Greek/Latin/Classics been of use and value to your professional and/or non-professional life?
  • Friday, 10
    Consider your view of the future of the discipline, based on how you see its present state, and your place in it. How would you promote/have you promoted the study of Greek/Latin/Classics in your professional and non-professional spheres?

Just suggestions, inward and outward looking, covering past, present, and future.

As mentioned, blogging Classicists, especially teachers, are invited to participate. I will post links to your blogposts at the end of my own musings. I already have my eye on several Classics blogs (see the sidebar under “Select Links: Blogs on Antiquity”). If you don’t find yourself there and intend on participating, just let me know via e-mail to watch for your posts. Non-blogging Classicists can contribute by writing in the day’s post’s comments section here (Blogger account required, as an anti-comment-spam measure), or by e-mailing me. I myself can post the text of the e-mail (with or without light cosmetic editing; your identity will be kept in my confidence, unless you expressly state to be named by name + affiliation; see the e-mail link in the header and footer). Other bloggers and readers who have some Classics background but are not practitioners are also more than welcome to participate; though we did not succeed in recruiting you into the field, we did convince you to stick it out with us for a time.

Posting Schedule
Since our commitments and habits vary, we need not feel obligated to post by each day’s end. For my part as organizer and host, I will hold off on thematically unrelated posts through Friday, 17 March. This gives us through the actual recruitment week, starting now, to ponder and draft posts as we can, and through the following week to post.


  posted at 23/2/06 11:23 AM :

Since the Latin programmes at many high schools nowadays exist mainly to improve students' SAT scores and few registrants are really interested in learning the language deeply or in the Classics, I imagine many passionate Latinists would be miserable having to dumb down everything.

  posted at 24/2/06 7:43 AM :

Uh, let’s not generalize so pessimistically. You well know the difficulties of addressing the diversity of students’ needs, interests, skills, and aims.

Vocabulary building for standardized testing is certainly one of the immediate, quantifiable, practical benefits marshalled to justify a Classics program’s existence. But that’s just to get students in the door. Surely more gets not a few of them to stay in their seats?

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