2018 Precollegiate Teaching Award Winners

The Society is delighted to announce this year's winners of the awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the Precollegiate Level.  We congratulate Susan Meyer and Thomas J. (TJ) Howell, who will both receive their awards at the Plenary Session in San Diego. You can read their citations below:

Thomas J. Howell Citation

Thomas J. Howell likes to describe his vision of teaching as “one that marries innovative language pedagogy to deep exploration of topics in an environment where language and humanistic study is welcomed and supported.” Currently at Northampton High School, Massachusetts, Thomas or “TJ”, as his students know him, has taught Latin at the secondary level since 2000. He has developed a highly creative approach to Latin instruction within a four-skills framework. His students are drawn in through “compelling, high-quality, culturally relevant comprehensible input texts”, from Harrius Potter and the incomparable Commentarii de inepto puero (anglice: Diary of a Wimpy Kid) to the Bayeux Tapestry and Catullus. As he likes to tell them, “Latin isn’t a puzzle to be decoded – it’s a language that can be read and understood without translation just like any other.” One of his novel approaches is to adopt hand signs from an instructional system designed to create new speakers for languages on the brink of extinction called “Where are your Keys” (WAYK). These allow students to express stress levels and comprehension, and thus help TJ “address their immediate emotional or intellectual needs without stopping class or drawing undue attention to themselves”. One of his favorite techniques is “Full Check,” where students can communicate to their readiness to acquire language. TJ explains, “If everyone is ‘full’ - perhaps they’re tired, or they’ve had a bad day, or they’re hungry - I’ll change my focus to review already familiar material or tell a myth or a fable”.

WAYK is an oral method and TJ takes presentational speaking, in the new Classical Language Learning Standards, very seriously. Beyond his own classroom, he has taught at the SALVI Rusticatio and Conventiculum Bostoniense for the last several summers, and recently started with the Biduum Minnesotanum. He is an inspiring example to his students. As one of his writers described it, “His command of the Latin language is impeccable and the breadth of his familiarity with Latin texts is simply stunning.” His students respond with enthusiasm. Another writer notes: “The walls of his classroom are decorated with narratives, paintings, projects, and other evidence of student enthusiasm for the subject and competence in the language, and I have seen students participate in a range of activities that indicate the considerable depth and breadth of TJ’s commitment to effective pedagogy”. TJ works hard to foster a sense of belonging. He throws all-student  banquets  to  celebrate  National  Latin  Exam  winners and creates projects that bring students together across levels, as when his Latin 2 class did a unit on oracles and the future tense and his level 5s wrote ambiguous answers to their questions. It is no surprise that students want to continue their Latin with TJ. As the teacher of middle school that feeds Northampton High writes, “since he began teaching in Northampton this fall, every parent and student who visits me has told me the same thing: they are loving Latin. They seem to be too busy getting caught up in real communication in the classroom to notice how hard they’re working and how much they’re improving”.

TJ has worked tirelessly to promote the Classics. In partnership with UMass-Boston, he has developed a dual enrollment program for Northampton and contributed significantly to the UMass teacher training program, mentoring no less than fourteen student teachers in their practicums while offering regular SLA workshops to their incoming students. He has contributed professional service all levels, serving as President of the Classical Association of Massachusetts, as CANE blog editor and board member, and as a member of the recent ACTFL committee to reconsider the new Standards for Classical Language Learning. Memorably described as “a master  teacher  and  a  consummate  professional”, TJ richly deserves a 2018 SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level.

Susan Meyer Citation

Susan “Magistra” Meyer has taught in Culbreth Middle School, Chapel Hill, since 2010. Her nominator’s words testify vividly to her talents: “Susan is a genius at what she does. If there were a MacArthur Award that accommodated Middle School teachers, I would nominate her for that.” As a more modest prize, the SCS is delighted to recognize Susan with an Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching Award.

The first of the many innovations Susan’s students and colleagues praise is a system she designed to encourage learning for its own sake and foster an inclusive, collaborative community. Fans of Harry Potter will recall the “House System” at Hogwarts. Magistra Susan took the concept of a ‘Latin family’ and created a ‘gens system’ that would randomly sort students into one of four Roman families (Claudians, Julians, Flavians, and Cornelians). Students earn famae or reputation points for their gens for positivity, personal growth, and the pursuit of academic opportunities. They might play Susan’s course on Memrise, a digital vocabulary game, on their bus ride home or make military standards, cartoons, stories, or charters for their gentes in Latin, or even come in early to tutor younger gens members. And yes, famae can be taken away for bad deeds, but on the other hand they are awarded generously when students continue to take Latin after middle school. Lavish famae are given to the gens of an alum who takes AP Latin. One million are awarded, if they become a Latin teacher.

Susan is taking retention to a new level. As she explains, her alumni “are active fixtures” in her classroom. As long as a student is the district, they can stay in the digital classroom until 12th grade. Alumni make posts encouraging their younger gens members to turn in missing work or to dress up for the biannual spirit day competition. They submit T-shirt designs with slogans like “The diem ain’t gonna carpe itself”. As a parent notes, “When you enter Ms. Meyer’s class in middle school, you are never her student for just a semester. You are her student for life. You become part of an intergenerational community of students, parents and teachers inspired by Ms. Meyer to love and enjoy learning together”. Susan’s outreach activities foster positive attitudes to Roman culture. Students and alumni flock to her annual study abroad trips. They also take part in community events. As one proud parent notes, “Magistra has recruited an army of nerds who put on togas and march each year in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Holiday Parade and turn the high school theater into the Underworld on Halloween”. Students submit modern Latin-related items for the classroom “ROMA VIVIT” board or take on the “Passive Voice Challenge,” attempting to use nothing but the passive for an entire school day. They create “Wonderful Verba” etymology videos (for those who miss middle school humor, the video on “incendiarism” is must see) or they read articles on her Classical Tumblr page, amoRoma. A parent explains that “Magistra is completely fluent in the language, social media, and pop culture of her students”, and a ninth grade alumna may best encapsulate the experience of Susan’s classes: “I loved how she taught in such detail that after her class even after I left the school I still think on a regular bases about word origin and how language works. Magistra's class was not only a Latin class but a life class.”

This hasn’t come easy. Susan inherited a weak program, which she has grown from a couple of classes of two and nine students respectively to five full classes at an average of twenty to twenty-five students. Her program flourishes with a diverse population. As a former teacher writes, “Ms. Meyer’s students reflect the diversity of North Carolina public schools. Her students are black, brown and white and from a wide range of economic strata. Her classroom is a haven where they learn and thrive with students across grades, schools and various other social divides. Susan has long sought to “be the teacher that I needed when I was a kid” and has succeeded brilliantly. In the words of a parent, “Magistra Meyer was born to teach middle school Latin.”

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

In memoriam Stellae Q. Decimae

Lucerna ardens extinguitur
 

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/21/2020 - 8:38am by John C. Franklin.

Our third interview in the Contingent Faculty Series is a digital sit-down between Salvador Bartera (SB) and Joshua Nudell (JN), Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. Prof. Nudell holds a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Missouri. His research focuses on political culture and identity in Classical and early Hellenistic Greece, with particular focus on Ionia and the Greeks of Asia Minor. His monograph, Accustomed to Obedience?: A History of Classical Ionia, is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. Prof. Nudell is also interested in political rhetoric, imperialism, cultural memory, and the reception of the ancient world in games. His other passion involves food, both from a scholarly point of view and from a more ‘practical’, hands-on approach. His teaching experience includes small colleges, community colleges, and a large state university. He normally teaches courses in ancient history.

 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/18/2020 - 9:37am by .

Ovatio for Dr. Fauci and Response

The Michigan Classical Caucus recently sent an ovatio to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States.

They recently posted the response they received from Dr. Fauci's office in a release to their members. The release follows:

Dear MCC Members,

Recently, two of your past presidents and the Secretary-Treasurer sent a message to Dr. Anthony Fauci on behalf of the Michigan Classical Caucus. Dr. Fauci, in case you did not know, received a Classical education at the Jesuit high school in Brooklyn: 4 years of Latin, 3 years of Greek. He went to the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts for his undergraduate degree/pre-med majoring in Classics: Greek philosophy focus. We felt that since he is not shy about praising his background, we should not be shy in thanking him.

We created an OVATIO for him and forwarded it to his office. We realize that he is extremely pre-occupied right now, but we wanted to let him know that people think highly of him for things besides this pandemic and how he trying to help us through it. (He still credits his background in philosophy as a help.)

We have received the following response from his staff:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 12/17/2020 - 1:18pm by Erik Shell.

The Society for Classical Studies mourns the recent loss of Senator Paul S. Sarbanes.  Obituaries like this one from the New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/07/us/politics/paul-sarbanes-dead.html

give a full picture of his life of distinguished public service, including his five terms representing the State of Maryland as an exceptionally well-informed, honorable, and self-effacing member of the US Senate.  Intensely proud of his Greek heritage (he was the son of immigrants who ran a Greek restaurant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore), and of the accomplishments of his classicist wife, the late Christine Dunbar Sarbanes, he was a great friend to classical studies in general and to the SCS in particular.  Paul and Christine Sarbanes served as co-chairs of the Society's Gateway Campaign for Classics from 2005 to 2013, and themselves made a generous donation to the Campaign. 

The Society for Classical Studies expresses its deepest sympathy to the Sarbanes family. 

by Adam Blistein and Sheila Murnaghan

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 12/14/2020 - 7:10am by Erik Shell.

CFP: Ancient Leadership Series for SAGE Business Cases

Since 2018, SAGE Business Cases (SBC) has been inviting authors to contribute to its Ancient Leadership series. This year’s series will explore “The Stakes and Sacrifices of Leadership” through history, mythology, philosophy, and material culture.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/10/2020 - 10:56am by Erik Shell.

Ancient Greek Literature

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

Duration: Full-time – for a maximum of four years, or Part-time - for a maximum of six years

Application deadline: 15th January 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021. Please note that May 2021 is also potentially available if preferred - subject to discussion and agreement

For enquiries, please contact Professor Judith Mossman


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably qualified graduates for a fully funded PhD studentship.

Project details

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship, either full or part-time, in Ancient Greek literature.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 12/10/2020 - 10:48am by Erik Shell.

In 2020, the inaugural year of the SCS Erich S. Gruen Prize, the selection committee received 31 submissions from graduate students across North America treating aspects of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. The committee was impressed with the candidates’ overall quality as well as range. Papers received, all anonymized before review, reflected the temporal and geographical breadth of classical and Near Eastern antiquity and diverse disciplinary perspectives including archaeology, art history, epigraphy, history and philology. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 12/09/2020 - 8:13am by Helen Cullyer.

On December 2, the University of Vermont (UVM) announced devastating cuts to many programs and departments, including Classics. SCS President Sheila Murnaghan and Director of the Classics Advisory Service Jeff Henderson have written to the UVM Provost and President in support of Classics and to protest the deep cuts. Prof. Henderson continues to stay in close touch with department chair John Franklin to provide support and assistance to everyone in the Classics department. Other humanities organizations, including the Medieval Academy of America, are also supporting the humanities at UVM.

Individuals can take action by signing this petition, which was created by a UVM student. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/07/2020 - 10:12am by Helen Cullyer.

ANTIQUITY IN MEDIA STUDIES is holding our first-ever virtual conference, and you're invited!

via Zoom on 11-12 December 2020, Eastern Standard Time

AIMS is a newly organized group of scholars who collaborate on research, pedagogy, and outreach activities that examine and enrich how people around the world engage with the concept and contents of "antiquity" in a variety of media. Since our inception via the Classical Antiquity section of the Film & History conference, we have been expanding our focus to include the wider Mediterranean world, with the goal of welcoming engagements with antiquities from around the globe.

In recognition of the ever-greater ubiquity of screens in our professional lives under COVID, this year's conference focuses on receptions through screen-media platforms, including film, television, streaming video, video games, and social media. Our closing session features remarks on the state of Classical Reception Studies by Monica S. Cyrino (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque) and Antony Augoustakis (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

The detailed program, abstracts, code of conduct, and other information are available at the conference website:

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 12/07/2020 - 6:40am by Erik Shell.

(Un)-Forgotten Realms: Science Fiction and Fantasy in and about the Ancient Mediterranean

25th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium

University of Virginia

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Rea (University of Florida)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 12/04/2020 - 2:58pm by Erik Shell.

Pages

Latest Stories

Calls for Papers
An announcement from the organizers of the West Coast Plato Workshop:
In Memoriam
H. Don Cameron (1934-2021), Arthur F.
Awards and Fellowships

© 2020, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy