Not Your Grandmother's Latin Class

Lamb also presented at that conference on her Mead Fellowship from the New England Council of Foreign Language Teachers about creating a resource hub for new Classics teachers in Connecticut. The Connecticut Organization of Language Teachers nominated Lamb last year, and the organization selected her project with two others from thirteen state finalists from the New England and the Mid Atlantic States. “Creating Classics Connections”, the name of the hub, helps teachers new to the profession with online resources, a mentorship program, webinars and other materials. Just recently Lamb gave three workshops in mid- October at the Google For Education Summit in Manchester on Google Calendar, Drive, Docs and Forms.

Lamb’s love of the classics started while she was still teething. Rather than read her Pat the Bunny or Dr. Seuss bedtime stories, Lamb’s parents served her a culturally rich diet of Greek mythology to nod off to. She believes the classic stories still resonate today because they deal with the human condition. She said, “The beauty of these stories is that it’s important to understand that people were feeling and understanding the world in a similar way years ago as we are today. It’s the timeless question: What is it like to be a human being?” She believes that by studying these works, one is creating a communication with people that lived thousands of years ago.

Lamb’s favorite myth is the tale of Odysseus and the Cyclops, where Odysseus uses his brain to outwit the giant. She said, “The story makes you realize that you don’t always need to be the biggest and the strongest to succeed.” Although she appreciates any reading of the classics, she believes it’s best to read the stories in the original language. “You always want to read the original. It would be like reading a translation of Shakespeare. It loses something in the translation,” she said.

Lamb weaves a rich tapestry of culture and commentary into her classes so that the language comes alive. She contends that if the classes are imbued with context, students don’t need to be overwhelmed with declension charts. She engages the students with interesting, compelling and rich material as possible so that her students truly remember the language and its culture. As she said, “My class is not my grandmother’s amo, amas, amat.”
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