Participant Comments

Roman Daily Life

This has hands down been the best professional development that I have ever done. The community of teachers that our instructor put together was wonderful and the curriculum was so engaging. Latin is traditionally taught primarily through the literature and this class did have a primary text. However, the text was used effectively as a springboard for other topics that I, in my 12 years of teaching, knew so little about. We learned about Roman superstitions, baths, slavery, freedmen, graffiti, dining, etc. All of these topics really brought the Romans alive for me in a way that I've never felt. The seminar will reinvigorate my teaching. I will use each unit (helpfully put together in a coherent way on google drive) that we went over this summer to augment my current curriculum. We now have easy access to more pictures, inscriptions, primary sources and scholarship on relevant topics that I know will get my students excited about learning.

Matt was a wonderful instructor; he was attentive and responsible with a real concern for our wellbeing as well as our learning. He asked for feedback frequently and incorporated that feedback immediately. We had a good daily routine that challenged, but didn't overwhelm us. He was as close to a perfect instructor that you could get. We had three other visiting scholars all of whom really augmented the curriculum. The first, Beth, was an expert on the text we were reading and helped us learn more about Roman society; her topics included slavery, dining, the afterlife, and freedmen. The second, Rebecca, was an expert on Pompeii and Herculaneum and provided us with material to make our study of those cities easier. The last instructor, Jeremy, was an expert on Roman street life and how average, everyday Romans lived. All of them were excellent and vital to the experience.

The college could not have been more accommodating and helpful. The apartments were clean and comfortable. Anytime that we needed something the director coordinated with the college and it was handled quickly and efficiently. The director took the time to order over 300 books through inter-library loan that we might need or wish to consult. The seminar room was fully equipped with tables and chairs that were comfortable and could be easily reconfigured if the activity required group work. The LCD connection was excellent. One small touch that meant a lot to me as a teacher was the mid-morning coffee break the director had set up with the dining service. It showed the director's thoughtfulness and attention to every aspect of our experience. It also allowed us to extend the seminar day.

This experience was truly irreplaceable in its impact on my teaching, and I know the other summer scholars feel the same. The majority of us are "singletons" (the only teacher of Latin at our respective schools), and it can be very difficult to find productive, academic, curriculum-focused professional development, much less a course of study focused on the specific needs of our students. I cannot say enough good things about this program, and I know that any one lucky enough to get a spot in future years will come away enriched.

The hands-on activities were probably the coolest part of this seminar. We really got a feel for what life was like for these people living in Pompeii and Herculaneum 2000 years ago, and I hope to translate these activities back to the classroom. Our dinner on Saturday was particularly effective at illustrating the gustatorial differences between modern and ancient Western societies, and I know that my students will enjoy this as well. The museum visit gave me fantastic ideas for what I want to teach this coming year, and the farewell dinner really rounded out the entire experience, giving us all a chance to reflect.

This seminar has been a seminal moment in my teaching career. What I gained most from this seminar was how important it is as a teacher to create opportunities for activity for my students, whether that's a hands-on project, a lively conversation, or a dramatic storytelling. It is not hyperbole when I say that my teaching will never be what it was before this seminar.

The seminar was fantastic. Matt and the visiting professors did a great job of putting together information in very digestible chunks that can be used in the classroom. This seminar has improved not only my Latin fluency but also deepened my understanding of Roman culture. I assume I will spend the next 3-4 years incorporating the massive amount of new resources into my curriculum.

Where do I start?! This seminar was SPECIFICALLY relevant and will be IMMEDIATELY applicable to my career as a young teacher of Latin. The varied expertise of the visiting faculty, combined with that of the director, Matt Panciera, created this full, balanced presentation of the content and generated repeated, sustained, and fascinating discussions. This was a magical blend of scholarship that was firmly grounded in the ever-important question, for teachers: what's the instruction angle here?, i.e., how do we translate this information to our students? Many conferences and seminars are tailored EITHER to teachers, OR to academics. This blended the best of both approaches in a meaningful, thoughtful, at times even profound way.

This was one of those education experiences where you're torn between contributing to the discussion and writing down furiously all the ideas that are popping into your head about how you'll use this stuff in your own classroom. I was frequently worried that there would be NO way that I'd remember all of the approaches, ideas, suggestions, comments, etc. There was just so much rich conversation, material, input. These three weeks were thrilling.

The overall experience was incredible. I learned more and was more inspired than I have been from all the other professional development experiences I have had over the last 15 years combined. I have come away with both knowledge and ideas for application that I can incorporate in all my classes on a daily basis. Moreover, I plan to work with other members at my school (Latin, Humanities, and elementary teachers) so they can incorporate elements of my learning in their classrooms as well.

Gustavus Adolphus College's facilities were really good. The people were hospitable and personable. Housing was spacious and well-suited to our needs. The library and computer facilities were good but Prof. Panciera created a library of loaned and reserved books specifically for this seminar, so there was not much need for the larger library facility. This was a good approach for our specialty topic.

Opportunities for in-depth study of Latin texts and Roman history are often hard to come by for Latin teachers. The opportunities for networking and collaboration among Latin teachers are also scarce. Creating the space for Latin teachers to deepen our content knowledge and share resources was absolutely priceless!

This seminar was the best professional development I have ever attended. The class worked with a Roman text, and used it as a spring board to talk about how to dig out details of the daily life of Romans who are not the elite, who are often overlooked. Being able to watch someone who is an expert in the field walk us through his thinking, and then discuss it with other teachers was an invaluable experience. I hope that I can take all of the techniques about picking apart texts and all of the information about non-elite Roman life back to my classroom. I was also struck by the use of visual resources and how they added to much to my experience as the student. I hope to be able to emulate the combination of text, discussion, and visuals in my own classroom.