Having the entire 6th grade class take Latin is new to Ensworth this year tell us a little about what you are teaching and your background before coming to Ensworth? Do you feel like Latin is a good base for learning other foreign languages?
Latin is not only a good base for learning other foreign languages, particularly the Romance languages, but it is also a wonderful supplement to English language learning. The main thrust of 6th grade Latin is to create enrichment opportunities for students in vocabulary, grammar and language structure, history, and culture. Latin, through the nature of the course, is uniquely suited to be a vessel into that type of interdisciplinary work. This summer Nancy Scoville and I met with both Red Gables and Devon Farms faculty to assess crossover opportunities in curricula. This is my 9th year teaching Latin and I’ve never encountered a program quite like this. It is an amazing opportunity to create a deeper learning experience for our students. I am thrilled to be able to help build and sustain such an undertaking.
I’ve been quite fortunate to have had a wealth of experiences before coming to Ensworth. Since earning my degree in Latin from Sewanee (YSR!), I have taught Latin at three other independent schools; one in Bell Buckle, TN, one in Nashville, and one in San Francisco. Some of my adventures have been living in dormitories with students, coaching middle and high school sports, driving school buses, chaperoning trips and moving to the West Coast and back again. I’ve already had some great new experiences at Ensworth and I look forward to the many to come.
Going all the way back to my undergraduate days, if I had a dollar every time someone asked me “What can you do with Latin?” I’d be answering these questions from my beach house. While it’s true that you will be hard pressed to use Latin, strictly speaking, outside of the Vatican, that doesn’t make it a fruitless endeavor. Latin requires discipline, problem solving, critical thinking, analyzing, and integration skills just as much as any other subject. Education is about more than learning what you need to get into college or to get a job. Those outcomes are obviously important, but they need to be the product of a good education, not the aim in and of itself. What a sad and boring world it would be if we only learned things directly related to our work. If we wish to fulfill the Ensworth mission statement, we must be ready to embrace and encourage learning in all its forms.
What is your favorite lunch day in the cafeteria?
Chicken fajita day without a doubt. The new parfait cups for the faculty (sorry, students!) are quite delicious too.
There are so many! I’ll do a top 3:
1) Being on the river was great, so it was wonderful to hear students recount their adventures. Especially since every report was delivered with a smile.
2) Camp fire night. This group is able to entertain themselves and it was fun watching them enjoy each other’s company as a class. I won’t name names, but the impromptu dance contest was something to see.
3) Miles Asafo-Adjei and I running the cornhole floor. We retired as undefeated champs.
If you could trade places with any Ensworth teacher for a day who would it be and why?
As some may know, I was around Ensworth a good bit last year as a substitute teacher. I was able to spend time in most of the school that way, but I never got to visit the Pre 1st hallway. I’m not sure I would be an adequate replacement for any of the P1 teachers, but I would love to see them in action.