Nice idea – essay by pupil praising her Latin teacher

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Latin teacher Peter Campbell

Picture this: a lumberjack with high socks slashing through wood with his large, metal ax. Only one of his infamous traits, Mr. Campbell has entertained hundreds of students throughout his years at Shawnee. Besides being thoroughly captivated within these intricate stories, students have learned skills that have helped them in standardized tests, college classes, and everyday life.

Mr. Campbell represents my idea of a teacher with character. His honors Latin classes are not easy, and the class work takes time. However, with enough attention and practice, anyone can achieve that perfect “A.” . . . Even among the conjugations and derivations, time still remains for related stories about his past in Scotland and little tidbits about the mystery of Latin. He does not make tests to trick you, nor give you so much homework that you get swallowed in the Latinus mundus; he only does what he can to be fair to his students. In fact, he does not even give credit or check his student's “dittos.” His students respect him enough to do their homework so they do not get one of his long lectures. Through the years I have noticed kids are more affected by a “talk of shame” than a zero on a homework grade. Besides these facts, Mr. Campbell is always willing to help. When a student is absent, he will talk to him or her and give him or her a mini lesson on what he or she missed. Since most teenagers have already forgotten correct grammar, he recites all concepts in English first to ensure we can write the translation correctly into Latin.

. . . No matter what it is, Mr. Campbell always knows how to entertain his class and make a dead language come alive. Through all of these qualities, he has shown me the language through a different light and helped me look forward to Latin class every day.

Awful thought – what would my pupils have written about me?