Sipping coffee on my first Institute Friday morning. I made it. Our students made it. Here we are. No new morphology or syntax today. Morning drills followed by an afternoon review of all Week 1 material, Units 1-4, in preparation for our first weekly exam on Monday, June 18, DAY 6.
Yesterday was quite a day for verb morphology. Essentially, the rest of the verb system, except for imperatives, participles, and the active and passive periphrastic conjugations (oh, that). They got the present system of second, third, third i-stem, and fourth conjugation verbs, as well as the entire passive voice (both present system and passive system, indicative and subjunctive). Oh, and the ablative of personal agent, too.
I don't think there is a single student who isn't feeling at least somewhat overwhelmed right now. It's virtually impossible not to feel that way. Nevertheless, most are swimming along; a few are treading, but in no danger of sinking; only one or two are flailing dangerously. We hope we can keep them all, but there is invariably at least some attrition within the first couple of weeks of the program. This level of intensity works for many, but not all students.
As for me, right about now I'm thinking this is the best teaching experience ever. It's great for my Latin, it's great for my classroom technique, it's great for my pedagogical methodology. I'm learning a lot on all those fronts and more. Interpersonal skills. How to support students cognitively and, to a degree, emotionally. How to balance unconditional love with tough love in the pedagogical setting. No, you are not "too slow," but yes, we want you to get faster, and we expect you to get more accurate, memorize your principal parts, etc.
I'm pretty sure my husband thinks I'm crazy, but that's OK. When we met, Jason used to tell me how pleased he was to be dating a classicist, and I would counter, with not a little pique, that I was a former classics student, not a classicist. Well, that was 12 years ago. In the interim, I seem to have morphed into precisely what Jason wanted me to be: there's no more complete way to be a classicist than to be teaching in the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute. So he'll just have to accept the consequences of getting his wish!
Note: The opinions expressed in this blog entry are those of the blogger, and do not represent the opinions of the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute, its students, faculty, or administration.