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More wired than a Roman Internet café

Wow. We are already at the Thanksgiving break. Looking at the list of things done and not-done, I am evenly split. My Latin IIs are more or less on schedule, as are my IIIs, but AP, ah, AP, the perpetual late-comer. As a colleague put it, we spend too much time enjoying the poetry.

But it isn't about schedules and syllabi. How well do my students understand the language? I am beset by worries that they will emerge after four years, having learned little or nothing, with no appreciation for what it is they have been tackling. Most of my students do not study Latin or Greek after they move on to college, and I don't expect that they would. But it nags at me that they might never again pick up a text, even one read before, and look through it. Will they become the parent at the back-to-school night who tells me that they took Latin in High School?

I have made an effort to avoid thinking about my "legacy", as I think keeping an eye on the future takes away from the present moment in class, but I do wonder if what they have learned in class will have a positive effect later in life.

Views: 23

Comment by Laura Gibbs on November 25, 2008 at 4:11pm
Hi Matthew, I know the feeling! I often meet people who did Latin in high school or college and can't remember a thing - and when I taught Latin courses at the University of Oklahoma, it was the famous "third-semester Latin class" - that is, the last class students had to take who were just there to fulfill their foreign language requirement in college, which was about 90% of the class. They were also not destined to take Latin again.

That's why I've always been so keen on proverbs and sayings. I figure proverbs and saying are HIGHLY portable: if someone has a personal motto in Latin, they can take it and use - not just to invoke in cocktail party conversation (although Latin mottoes definitely can be crowd-pleasers in silly situations like that), but just to get them to take some bit of wisdom, encapsulated in Latin, which they will keep with them even when the future passive periphrastic is but a distant memory!

I've got a Latin proverb of the day here, if you are interested - along with Greek proverbs too for students in search of the truly arcane!

They are in the left hand column of this Ning: Aesopus.ning.com.

You can also get a script to add them to any webpage that allows javascripts! :-)

My own personal Latin motto is: Spes Ultima Dea.
Comment by Matthew Moore on November 25, 2008 at 6:55pm
At the start of each new year, I am reminded of the definition of a second marriage after divorce: The triumph of hope over experience.
Comment by Laura Gibbs on November 25, 2008 at 7:40pm
Ha ha, I am very happily married... for the second time! :-)


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