Sunday, November 01, 2009


All Hallow's Eve has come and gone, and here I sit in the early morning. The time will fall back soon, so I will get an extra hour of sleep in there anyway. I have my playlist from iTunes running in the background (the latest album from Steve Perry) and I have been searching the various blogs related to classics, teaching, and other such things. I then remembered I had a blog...

My last post heralded my decision to teach Cicero's First Oration Against Catiline this year and I do not regret the decision. Reading, translating, and understanding Cicero requires much from a Latin student, and he has certainly provided that. Most students have responded well, and we are slogging our way through. I have had to jump through portions of the text, though, in order to keep it interesting and moving along. I have plans to stick with my tribute to Latin prose and teach some letters from Pliny the Younger next. He's always fun.

The class reading Cicero is moving quite slowly, though, because it is combined with AP Vergil... yeah, that's right, I'm teaching Cicero and Vergil in the same classroom at (roughly) the same time. Things are working fairly well, but this is, by no means, the best way to do things. My Vergil students are moving slowly, too, but the other alternative was for me to not teach them at all.

The way my class works is that it meets on the block during which the lunch shifts operate. I give my full attention to my Cicero students for the first half-hour while my Vergil students eat lunch. During the next hour both sets of students work on reviewing particular points of Latin grammar or syntax, sight translating, or similar cooperative work. When the Cicero students go to lunch, I teach the Vergil students for half an hour. Yeah, that means I don't eat lunch, but that is survivable.

My frustration is increasing lately because I am realizing that I cannot teach what I want to teach in the way I want to teach it because of my workload. I have five preparations spread through six classes which meet every other day. I am barely keeping my head above water and, occasionally, I do go under and claw my way back to the surface gasping and sputtering. I've always called this my grand juggling act -- I can almost keep all the balls in the air but don't expect me to do anything fancy with them. Sometimes I drop the some of the balls, but I pick them up and keep tossing.

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