Wednesday, October 03, 2018

3 First-Year Teachers Tell Their Stories: Meet K.

(For an introduction to this blog series, see our first post. To read our first teacher profile, click here.)

Students colored in images depicting the foundation myths of Rome.
Many chose to use whimsical color schemes; they then labeled the colors
using the Latin terms.
Meet K., a first-year Latin teacher at a public middle school in the northeast. Students at this school come from a mixture of suburban and rural areas. K. teaches two sections of Latin 1A (seventh grade) and two sections of Latin 1B (eighth grade); she also travels to the neighboring high school, where she teaches Latin 2. K. has explained some of her strategies and goals for the year, as described below.

Classroom setup: While K. has her own devoted classroom for her middle school students, she shares a classroom with two other teachers at the high school. Her middle school classroom has desks set up in pairs to facilitate group work. To brighten up her room, which lacks windows, she is using colorful bulletin board backing. She is leaving some wall space blank in hopes of decorating extensively with student projects, but has already posted a word wall as a helpful reference for students.

Goals: K. has several goals for her first year:
1. Cultivate a love of Latin and the ancient world among her students.
2. Create a classroom environment that feels safe and inclusive for all of her students.
3. Achieve a work-life balance so that she not only meets her students' needs but also attends to her own.

Methodologies and Approaches to Teaching: K. will be building off a curriculum that was already in place when she came to her school. She also will be working with the high school teacher in her district to ensure that her students are well-prepared for high school. The curriculum is fairly traditional, but she also plans to include some spoken Latin components and will read a novella with her eighth grade students.

Tips and Tricks: K. is excited to implement a variety of activities and techniques that she learned through pedagogy coursework and student teaching. To reinforce vocabulary, she likes using online tools such as Quizlet and Memrise, in addition to games such as Reverse Pictionary and charades. She also appreciates the use of word walls to ease students into speaking Latin. 

Most Looking Forward To: K. is most excited about sharing her love of the ancient world with her students. In particular, she is extremely passionate about archaeology and material culture and hopes to include both disciplines in her classes.

First Day Hook: K. presented an “About Me” PowerPoint in Latin to introduce herself to her students. She is hoping that sharing things about herself will be the first step toward encouraging a strong community in the classroom. Students also had the chance to pick animal terms as their Latin names. [editor’s note: I sincerely hope that at least one student has chosen Camelopardalis as their name]

K.’s passion for ensuring student well-being and encouraging student curiosity in the ancient world clearly comes through. Here’s to a great year, K.!

—Amelia Wallace, Editor

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