Participant Comments

Roman Daily Life

This was the most intellectually stimulating professional development experience I've had in 25 years of teaching. It has strengthened my understanding of a number of topics, allowed me to experience what it's like to be a student in the computer era, and given me inspiration to bring new ideas, topics, and techniques back to my classroom.

The director put a huge amount of work into putting the course and resources together. He was an effective and inspiring teacher. The expertise of the visiting faculty allowed us to dig deep into their particular fields of study and was an invaluable part of the course. There were a variety of activities and topics; we couldn't possible cover all aspects of Roman daily life in 3 weeks, but we were given a comprehensive overview and the skills and resources to pursue further knowledge on our own. Working with a passionate and diverse group of colleagues enriched the experience.

I cannot begin to measure the immense impact this seminar will have on my teaching. Most Latin classes focus on the literature of the elite, which results in an incomplete picture of who the Romans were. The strategies and resources I have encountered in this seminar will allow me to provide an even more hands-on, engaging experience for my students. Most importantly, I have been reminded why I became interested in Classics in the first place! Classics is a HUGE field, extending into politics, history, economics, anthropology, linguistics. I have been shown how to use new types of literature (graffiti and inscriptions), new aspects of Roman daily life have been introduced to me (and I now have the tools to understand these topics more fully when I get home), and I have increased social network, having made friends who have challenged and improved the way I teach Latin and Roman culture and history.

We had one director and three visiting faculty members. All were excellent and all were essential. Each visiting faculty member knew her/his field so well and took such joy in it that we could not help but become involved. Our director chose readings that were engaging and that related closely to the daily topics. His knowledge is vast, but our visiting faculty were able to go into details that inspired us all to dig deeper and ask more interesting questions. In addition, all faculty designed interactive projects and assignments that allowed us all to get a visceral understanding of our topics. For me, especially, since I teach a variety of ages, from the very young to graduating seniors, I was looking for means to bring the Classics to life, some way I can make the topic even more meaningful to young children who cannot read and to those who are just beginning to gain an understanding of their own beliefs. I cannot wait to read/create graffiti and inscriptions with my students, and you can be sure I will create opportunities for my seniors to teach my kindergartners. My colleagues were a diverse group that truly supported and inspired each other. Even though we ranged widely in our experience, we easily found common ground and shared innumerable project ideas with each other.

This seminar was easily the best professional experience I have had since spending a summer studying in Rome back in 2006. But this one was better. The intentional focus on how to take this learning AND apply it to my classroom sets this experience apart. I haven’t worked this hard and had this much fun doing in it a very, very long time. The impact of this seminar is nearly immeasurable. My students ask excellent questions all the time. I feel like I haven’t given them incorrect answers in the past, but now I will be able to answer their questions with certainty AND be able to share primary source materials with them to help them see how real the ancient Romans were.

This experience was life changing and has completely revolutionized the way in which I will approach and present all topics related to Roman daily life to my students. For the six years that I have taught Latin, I have bemoaned the lack of authentic sources for students at lower levels and have struggled to help my students recognize that the Romans were as real as any historical figure that has walked the earth with whom they're already familiar. By learning about daily life through ancient graffiti, I have become privy to a new corpus of authentic, accessible Latin that can be used in both my middle school and high school classes. Learning where to find images of this graffiti was especially valuable to me, as I hope that my students will be able to mentally tie these texts to a living, breathing person that penned them, and in this way begin to contemplate the Romans as a real group of people that experienced the same challenges and issues that they do in 2018. I am excited to begin to implement all that I learned on this seminar into my classes and curricula, and feel incredibly lucky for the opportunity to have participated in this seminar this summer.

Everything was well organized, and Matt communicated effectively about schedule changes or logistics for events outside of class. Our discussions were amazing and I feel that this was possible because of the incredible group of educators that Matt assembled. We discussed pedagogy on our first Friday together, and I walked away from this conversation with a newfound respect and appreciation for teaching Latin in a variety of ways. This event was something that Matt put together once we all arrived in St. Peter, but it was one of my favorite parts of the seminar and I highly recommend that it become a regular part of the program.

The extracurricular activities were wonderful! I loved the pedagogy discussion, as I mentioned above, and the wine tour and trip to Minneapolis to see the MIA were a lot of fun.

The Roman Daily Life seminar was a tremendous three weeks of engaging professional development. Every day I came away with new insights into the Latin text and a much deeper understanding of the world of the Ancient Roman empire. I now have a huge bank of material to pull from when I return to my own classroom. I am truly excited about sharing this knowledge with my own students in the form of lively discussions and creative projects.

I loved this seminar so much! I have come away from these three weeks so inspired--and prepared! I plan to incorporate so much of the material on graffiti and daily life into my classes. Seeing my fellow teachers' presentations was also hugely valuable and inspiring. This seminar is a Latin teacher's dream, and an amazing opportunity for collaboration and learning about these topics that many of us would love to tackle in our classes but don't know where to start--now I certainly know where to start! I feel inspired and refreshed both as a teacher and a scholar.

The Roman daily life seminar was a truly an incredible experience, and truly a unique program for Latin teachers and scholars in the United States. I've studied Latin since I was in the 7th grade, through college, and taught the language for three years. I've participated in three other Latin specific professional programs (Non-NEH), and nowhere did I encounter anything which came close to presenting an equally vivid picture of Roman daily life and society. The program was chalk-full of rich, engaging material which I am thrilled to bring into my classroom next year. It's easy to find resources and programs providing information and analysis of more traditional elite sources and storylines in Roman history, but Matt Panciera's program provides a truly superb window into the lives of average and everyday Romans using more nontraditional, but increasingly important primary sources (like epigraphy and graffiti). The program has totally revamped my ability to use (and access) these aforementioned sources in both my teaching and study of the Romans, and I'm thrilled to incorporate this syllabi into my syllabi for next year. I'm confident that this program will

This seminar was an amazing experience. It helped me grow as both a teacher and a scholar. The overall structure of the seminar was well thought out and organized, and really maximized our ability to take in a great deal of information in a short period of time. This seminar gave me the opportunity to explore new source material from the Ancient World and think about my curriculum from a new perspective. I look forward to bringing everything I learned back to my colleagues and my students.

The seminar was outstanding in all areas. I learned more than I ever could have expected coming in both from the director and all of the visiting professors. I am walking into my classroom this year with more than I ever could have hoped for, planned on, or come up with on my own, and feel much more comfortable teaching all aspects of Roman daily life in my classes, both from a materials standpoint and an understanding standpoint. Plus, it was an incredible opportunity to read Latin with teacher colleagues and has inspired me to keep up my personal reading of Latin.

The director was excellent and the program was very well organized in terms of how the Latin text we read connected with the various aspects of Roman daily life we covered. I was impressed with how well all the pieces fit together. The visiting faculty were a great addition to our experiences and allowed us to have more expert voices to interact with and learn from, and the materials we received from all the faculty members (director and visiting faculty) were informative and will be very helpful for future teaching. I came into the seminar expecting to focus mostly on the Latin text, and while that was what I got the greatest personal satisfaction from, the lectures (will related materials) and graffiti activities will have a greater impact on my teaching.

This was a transformative experience for me as a teacher who is entering her 20th year of teaching. I have been inspired by the energy of young teachers, who are new to the field, and I also loved sharing ideas and experiences with fellow veteran teachers. We all learned from one another. I have so much energy and information to bring to my classroom in many creative ways, and my curriculum will change for the better. I am also inspired to keep taking advantage of professional development opportunities, to possibly present the ways I will reinvent my classroom at future conferences, and to discipline myself to read Latin literature on a regular basis again.

This seminar has been life-changing for me, and it is an experience that I will never forget. It not only gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of ancient Rome and Petronius's Satyricon, but it allowed me to connect with fifteen other amazing Latin teachers of varying ages and experience. There is so much more physical and written evidence I can use to teach Roman culture in my class than I ever imagined. The resources and materials provided to us are incredible and I cannot wait to introduce my students to graffiti! Because I do not use a textbook in my class and write my own material, I feel that this seminar opened my eyes to so many more possibilities for material in my class - material that will be based on real people, events, and evidence from Pompeii. This opportunity to re-enter classics scholarship and academia was invaluable. It was such a special opportunity and I was very sad to see it end. I have already suggested it to many other Latin teachers!

Matt Panciera was a wonderful director for our program. He was organized, helpful, and provided excellent resources. He made sure to listen to everyone's opinions and ideas. Beth Severy-Hoven and Rebecca Benefiel were the best visiting faculty members we could have asked for this seminar. Beth's knowledge of the Satyricon and its place in ancient Roman culture is vast and indispensable. Her book on the topic was a wonderful resource to have, and I look forward to reading even more from it. Rebecca's work that she has done on Roman graffiti amazed me, and I loved that she got us involved of the process in making these materials accessible and usable to teachers. I hope to continue helping her with this process on her website. Both of these women are incredible scholars and their presence added so much to the seminar. My colleagues in the seminar were wonderful, each one coming from a different background and with different knowledge to share. There was a nice blend of newer teachers and more experienced teachers, and each brought great ideas and methods to the table. The organization of the program was efficient and our time was well-managed. I felt that the time between translation, discussions, lectures, and work were well-balanced. I loved having the opportunity to prepare an ancient Roman meal with my colleagues, and I really hope to provide my students with more activities that are based on the Roman meal. Learning how wine is made and having an evening of discussing pedagogy with my colleagues were also great activities. I think that the overall programming was well done and carefully thought out.

Paul Matzke, who was in charge of our housing needs, was fantastic. He insured that all of our needs were met and if aid was needed, he was always there in a timely manner. Gustavus Adolphus really impressed me! The dining hall had options for everyone (even me, with a few dietary restrictions) and the staff was very friendly. Everyone from the book store workers to the St. Peter locals treated us with kindness and were so welcoming. The library had a wealth of sources for us to use, and I can only wish that I had all of those books around me all the time! Matt worked so hard to provide us with all of the sources and books, and I am so grateful. I did not need to use any public computers, but the Wi-Fi was very efficient and I never had any problems with technology while I was there.

I cannot imagine a more thorough, comprehensive, practical, and stimulating experience than the seminar on Roman daily life I was fortunate to be a part of at Gustavus Adolphus led by Matt Panciera. The reading of Petronius in conjunction with the exploration of particular topics of daily life through the study of primary sources and material evidence provided invaluable contexts and resources to use with students to access Petronius' text and Roman daily life. The seminar prompted new thinking regarding the treatment of underrepresented and silent populations (such as women, freedmen, and slaves) within elite texts and the importance in ensuring their presence in the classroom. This seminar provided countless examples of ways to integrate these voices into a more full and accurate presentation to students of how the Roman world remained sustainable. The conversations that emerged throughout the seminar allowed pedagogical discourse to be woven into the academic exploration of Petronius' text and ancient evidence; this allowed for the exchange of ideas on how to integrate the subject matter for students of varying ages and levels. The text of Petronius itself, presented a new academic challenge in terms of its complexity of genre, language, and social dynamics within a changing Rome; I came away with an acute awareness of what the text contains in terms of content and challenge and had the opportunity to consider how to present it and process it with students. I also came away with new questions for my own academic inquiry through an immersive introduction to the work of scholars who specialize in all aspects of daily life. The extensive study of Roman graffiti provided a solid foundation for using graffiti in the classroom and an understanding of how to introduce students to the graffiti as an accessible authentic text at any level of Latin.

Matt Panciera created an incredibly rich experience by cultivating a tone of respect, support, and collaboration within a highly organized approach to the vastly complex material that highlighted daily life in Rome. He set the bar high by modeling positive and thoughtful engagement in conversation responding with questions grounded in evidence and research, and provided a comfortable space in which to refine ideas. The materials that Matt prepared provided endless opportunities to dig deeper into topics of discussion and provided a solid foundation of primary sources for those discussions. He also curated the most incredible library of resources for our use over the course of the three-week seminar, a resource I wish I could have taken back to my own classroom. He gathered books from all over the country and the world so that we would have at our fingertips the best examples of scholarship to advance our own knowledge and to explore avenues to introduce students to these topics. The culminating project formalized this inquiry and provided a context for participants to crystalize an idea either academic, pedagogical, or both and seek feedback from our peer group. These projects in turn formed a database of ideas which we can all share. In a world struggling with its own societal dynamics and for students who are navigating their own role, status, and identity, the implications of this seminar are invaluable for it provides a concrete platform upon which students can grapple with essential contemporary issues through understanding the voices of those similar to them. 

A true highlight of this seminar was the opportunity to work with the visiting faculty. Each brought a distinct specialty to the program; Matt's vision for the way in which these scholars could augment our understanding of Roman daily life emerged as each week, the visiting professor introduced us to his or her own research in a way that allowed us to understand the myriad angles one can use to tackle the question of what life was like for everyday people. The unique opportunities to ask Beth Severy-Hoven about linguistic decisions she made in her edition of The Satyrica and about her knowledge of family dynamics within the Roman home; to be a contributor to Rebecca Benefiel's Ancient Graffiti Project; to hear firsthand Jeremy Hartnett speak about his research on the soundscape of the ancient world were not only incredible but also important for knowing about the most current research and development in the field. Matt also planned relevant and fun excursions each week that allowed us to take a break from our routine to explore: We visited a local vineyard that highlighted the process of wine production, an important topic in the lives of everyday Romans, and the local collection of ancient art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The network of teachers that emerged from this seminar is another invaluable resource.

Gustavus Adolphus was a lovely college. The classroom facilities and campus provided a warm and comfortable place to study for the three weeks of the seminar. The apartments were clean and spacious and offered kitchens for cooking as an option. The facilities manager, Paul Matzke, was extremely accommodating and hospitable. As mentioned above, the curated library specific for our seminar and the resources of space in the Classics office offered plenty of resources and space for study and collaboration.

This three-week experience has been an amazing opportunity to refresh my passion for teaching Latin and the classical world. So much is being found in Pompeii and Herculaneum that can bring life to the world of Ancient Rome for my students. I have SO many ideas and plans that will immediately change how I present material to my students. I can't say enough about the phenomenal curriculum, professors, and colleagues. Specifically, I've already revised the structure of how I start my lessons each day. I've connected the graffiti to my grammar and cultural topics in order to better connect my students to the ancient world. I have set a goal of incorporating graffiti and epigraphs into my lessons on a weekly basis and to challenge my students to find their own connection to every day Romans.

I can't say enough about what Matt Panciera has done with this seminar. He has organized a thorough combination of Latin reading (Trimalchio!), incredible resources with the most recent research on Roman daily life, and an accessible approach to graffiti and depicti that will immediately impact my teaching of Latin this year. The visiting faculty brought their own focus to the discussions and provided an expertise through their presentations that was indispensable to our learning. Beth Severy-Hoven brought both her broad knowledge of the Satyrica (as the author of our class text) but also a feminist view to a decidedly non-feminist text. Her quiet humor and enthusiasm for teaching and helping teachers helped establish a tone of collegiality. Rebecca Benefiel's research on graffiti in Pompeii and Herculaneum is a continuously growing research tool that is immediately available to classicists and students. Her generosity as a teacher and classics colleague reminded us of our strengths as researchers and classicists. Jeremy Hartnett gave insight into the sensory world of Pompeii. The seminar's non- classroom activities (field trips?) were valuable in identifying connections to the modern world and building a professional community of learners and classics educators. It was particularly useful for planning to identify ancient resources that will come into my classroom starting on the first day of school. I have never enjoyed a course of such rigor and collegiality as this seminar. It has been a true privilege to laugh and learn with such a wonderful group of classicists. It was particularly important to have teachers at different stages of their teaching careers. The more experienced teachers helped reconnect the discussions to many authors/texts and brought a depth of understanding that added depth to the learning. The young teachers brought new ways of thinking, modern strategies of pedagogy, energy and passion. I have never laughed more, learned more, or grown more as an educator than I have during this seminar.

Everything about this program was spectacular. The director, Matt, was outstanding. Not only is he a very knowledgeable and gifted teacher but he is also a hospitable and thoughtful leader. I always felt intellectually stimulated and that I was a valued participant in the seminar. He planned a variety of topical and diverse activities outside of the seminar as well such as preparing and enjoying a Roman banquet as well as a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In addition to Matt, I really enjoyed meeting and working with the three, visiting faculty. Each faculty member brought their own unique experience and interests to the table and I learned so much from working with them. I was particularly appreciative of the opportunity to work with Beth Severy-Hoven and Rebecca Benefiel. Beth, the author of our Petronius textbook, was a veritable font of knowledge on the text and Roman daily life. Furthermore, getting to assist Rebecca with her work on a new online graffiti database geared towards secondary school teachers was incredibly exciting and I hope to continue our working relationship outside of the seminar. 

My colleagues were also wonderful. I really appreciated the fact that Matt chose such a diverse group of individuals from across the United States. The fact that we were all at different places in our teaching careers, taught from different textbooks and worked at various types of schools only made our conversations both inside and outside of class richer. Everyone was so supportive and forthcoming. I had many productive conversations with teachers who had been in the profession for only two years and some that had been on the job for twenty or more, One of the highlights of the seminar was definitely watching all of my colleagues present their independent research projects. Everyone worked on something different and each product was discussed and praised. We all left excited to try everyone's ideas in our own classrooms and continue the conversation beyond the seminar. In general, it was truly an extraordinary experience and I will be highly recommending this seminar to my local community of Latin teachers.

The seminar was an excellent experience. It is the most transformative professional development that I can say I have attended. I enjoyed the other participants, who were very well chosen, and we had many discussions about teaching and techniques that will stay with me for a long time. The materials that I created for my project will be used and improved throughout school years to come. I learned about a whole new resource that I can bring into the classroom (ancient Roman graffiti).

The director, Matthew Panciera, was excellent. He did a wonderful job of selecting the participants; we all got along well and everyone was compassionate and respectful. We had a good mix of newer and more seasoned teachers, which worked well. The newer teachers had ideas that took into account more of the modern technology, while the more veteran teachers had tried and true suggestions to offer. The guest lecturers that we had were amazing, too. Beth Severy-Hoven, Rebecca Benefiel and Jeremy Hartnett were well-versed in their area of expertise and added many things to our class discussions. They provided us with a wealth of resources to use during the seminar and in our classes. I especially enjoyed working on the

Ancient Graffiti Project with Rebecca Benefiel. The seminar was very well-organized and we covered a variety of topics in Roman Daily Life. We had sufficient time for each topic and plenty of materials to accompany each. The extracurricular activities were wide-ranging and informative. We prepared a Roman banquet, toured a winery, visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Minnehaha Falls park, and enjoyed a farewell banquet. Our director even hosted a welcome dinner at his home. These activities allowed the group to socialize outside of class and we really bonded during these times. The group also found events in the town and surrounding areas that provided relaxation time as well.

Matt Panciera was a wonderful program director. He definitely made us feel welcome and kept our discussions on-topic. He was available when we needed him and always "present" in class. I never felt like he would have rather been somewhere else. Visiting faculty were outstanding. Beth, Rebecca, and Jeremy were clearly passionate about their work, which is wonderful to see in our field! They legitimately cared about the participants getting the best possible experience. I loved how interactive the presentations were, and how we were all treated as equals in the field. There were no "divas" among Matt, Beth, Rebecca and Jeremy!

I very much enjoyed the morning readings/translations, much more than I thought I would going into the class. It was very comfortable to translate "at will" and Matt et al were very encouraging of our efforts. We were given a great deal of information and work, but I never felt pressured. The pace was perfect, and while being away from home for 3 weeks was difficult for me personally, I feel that the time was well-spent and accurate for the material.

Matt did a great job of keeping us focused on ancient life while also appreciating our modern viewpoints - I was very happy to avoid any intense political/etc discussions that may have otherwise arisen when you have a group of 18 strangers in one room. Matt kept the atmosphere respectful and on topic. The trip to the MIA museum was particularly exciting. The variety of pieces that applied to our field was excellent - even non-classical pieces displayed a variety of classical themes. I know we all appreciated the start/end times for classes, and especially the morning break and lunch break. It never felt like the day was dragging and there was plenty of time to get my own work accomplished.