Skip to content

Category Archives: Teaching

Teaching Vietnam Vets

I was a naïve girl of 24 teaching English 101 in the spring of 1975 at Kent State University. I had already taught freshman composition for a semester, and I had been a student teacher at McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, a couple of years before. I had a little teaching experience, but I realize […]

What I Learned Today

I was looking up Latin words for Christmas songs to share with my class tomorrow, our last regular meeting before the holiday break. For “In Dulci Jubilo,” (commonly sung in English as “Good Christian Men, Rejoice!”), I kept finding Latin lyrics with interlinear German ones, or sometimes English ones. What the heck? Then I discovered […]

Latina Vivit?

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a column I wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and its online version,, regarding the election. As you might guess, the responses have been very interesting. I received a weird and bitter email today on my phone, for instance, with the subject heading, “hilda was endorsed be […]

Iste Est Magister Stultorum

Wheelock’s Latin, the textbook my students and I use, quotes a lot of Roman wisdom. Today a student and I were translating this sentence, which frequently gives students trouble: Non solum eventus hoc docet—iste est magister stultorum—sed etiam ratio. It translates: Not only the outcome teaches this—that is the teacher of fools—but also reason. You […]

Operant Conditioning

You most often train dogs with treats to reinforce their behavior. My husband has a habit of “dropping” bits of food for our dog Roxie when he’s eating. Then he acts disappointed when she begs. “John,” I say. “She was trained. You literally trained her.” She thinks if she gazes at John, looking adorable (and she […]

Getting Things Done!

Today being one of my first days off from school (the semester actually ends on Friday with my last final, but it begins to feel like vacation already), I had a mental list of nagging things to attend to. How happy I would be to put mental check marks next to each item on my mental […]

“Stories Matter. Many Stories Matter”

  While reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s epic novel Americanah, I checked out YouTube for a glimpse of her and found two TED talks. One’s on feminism, and the other is called “The Danger of a Single Story.” In the “story” talk, Adichie explains how often we swallow a single version of a person or place […]

On Rape, Date Rape, and What Sensible, Well-Mannered Girls Do

  In about 1995, I was writing a profile of the education writer Jonathan Kozol (Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities) for the alternative weekly Cleveland Edition. I was and am a big fan. I had read all his books and admired his firebrand, keep-the-faith advocacy for poor children in poor schools in poor […]

A Dog, Ovid, and Poetry

Prologue Sometimes things connect. I find this frequently in my teaching life, my reading life, and my life life. Suddenly lots of themes and ideas keep recurring. I can’t connect the dots among the areas I’m about to describe. I’ll just describe them, and we can all reflect on the uncanny connections. The Dog In […]

Happy Valentine’s Day, Frederic Wheelock!

I am a teacher blessed with terrific students. It has not always been so.  Through many years, I sometimes struggled with unkind, arrogant students, annoying ones, and lazy ones. I’ve had extremely unpleasant encounters with parents. I’ve been accused of racism. Sometimes, hatred of a teacher’s subject matter—English or Latin, in my case—bleeds over into […]