Day 40: Scott, Latin Teacher in the Middle and Upper School

[ By on November 09, 2012 ]

Today I learned, or perhaps I should say I was forcefully reminded, that if I ask students to reflect on their own learning, even with minimal modeling but just with some questions to respond to—this was with high-school students—they can do a remarkable job. Here we are, at the end of the first quarter; I gave each student a sheet with questions (mainly passed to me by a colleague) such as, “What are some things that you think you have done well (skills, assignments, classroom behaviors or work, specific or general) so far this school year? Please consider character and behavior, involvement, contributions, etc., not just your work on assessments.” Also, “What are some things that you think you have not done so well…” And “What kind of a learner are you? Do you have a sense of how you personally *do* Latin—what works for you?” I thought it was important enough to give up about 20 minutes of class time to this, rather than have the students simply treat it as part of a homework assignment to get through outside of class. The room grew so silent except for the sound of pens and pencils scratching along the page. I found the answers thoughtful and specific. Most of their perceptions matched mine, but certainly not all, and these comments, suggestions, and self-reflections can help me as I plan our next quarter of work together, and whenever I meet with individual students, and also as I write our upcoming quarterly reports.

Scott has taught Latin at Riverdale for 18 years. He enjoys foreign-language learning and speaking (including conversational Latin), exercise, knitting, and playing the ukulele.

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