My Classroom After Classics
I didn’t start my Classics education until my 30s - I’d been teaching English for about 10 years by then. I look back at this time as ‘BC’ (Before Classics) and almost feel like a fraud.
How did I teach Shakespeare and not know the Classical references? How did I speak about the English language and not understand grammar fully? How did I deliver a lesson without shooting off on a Classical tangent that allowed me to explain how the Hunger Games was a modern example of Greek tragedy?
My classroom after Classics has become a very different place and I am pretty sure that the English pupils that I teach get a very different experience to my ‘BC’ pupils. As the Head of the English Department, I also know that my staff are getting involved in frequent Classics conversations with me and they will definitely find resources on our Schemes of Work which have Classical flavours.
There’s also the bonus that since I started taking an interest in Classics (along with several other colleagues) a London state school now has Latin and Greek lessons on the timetable, including Latin GCSE and an aim to have a Classical Greek GCSE as an option in 2020.
So, here’s a brief rundown of the impact of Classics on my classroom - My Classroom After Classics:
Greater knowledge of English grammar. I’m much happier with explaining grammatical errors now and confident with demonstrating how grammar can be applied to improve writing.
Greater knowledge of English language roots. The kids love knowing how a word works, but so do I! Knowing this stuff helps them read and write challenging vocabulary with more confidence.
Greater cultural capital is being delivered. Myths and history are discussed and applied to both the texts we study and the world around us. Classical Reception is a big part of my life now and I make sure that I share this knowledge where possible with pupils.
Now I teach Latin and Greek, pupils are learning Latin and Greek. It’s pretty simple to explain, but the impact is potentially unquantifiable. Because I teach these subjects, pupils now have access to people and places (visitors and visits) that would not have happened in my ‘BC’ years.
I am an active learner, still studying Greek and Latin at home every day (A-level on the horizon...). Therefore the pupils get taught by an active, enthusiastic learner. I love what I teach more than I ever did and I know that in 10 years, I will have learnt even more knowledge that will become part of the fibre of my teaching.
Thus, my classroom after Classics (AC?), is a very different place.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, starting to study Classics is the single best inset I have ever taken part in - and I’m nowhere near finished yet!