Clifford Hull, upper school Latin and history teacher, spoke to fellow faculty members recently about his six-week summer experience at the American Academy in Rome, made possible by a Vegesna Teacher Excellence Endowment grant. Hull noted how the experience has informed his teaching, and how he will share his experiences so other Latin and history teachers and classes can benefit.
In 2015 Harker parents Raju and Bala Vegesna founded the Teacher Excellence Program to “enhance and further teachers’ abilities in a manner that has a direct and demonstrable impact on student learning.”
Hull attended the Classical Summer School program at the American Academy in Rome from June 14-28, participating in weekly classes, including From Prehistory to the Early Republic, ca. 1000-500 BCE in week one, through the centuries, to the week-six class, Late Antique & Early Christian Rome, 312-500 CE.
Classes included lectures, Latin reading groups and a number of field trips, including one to Pompeii to observe the relics from the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. Hull noted, among other statistics, that he walked 246 miles exploring ruins and Rome, and took more than 8,500 photographs.
“The program also helped me to gain further evidence to support the influence of Roman culture in our contemporary society,” Hull said. “This will further help me develop a greater appreciation and sense of relevance of the study of Latin, and that of the ancient Romans, in my students who live in the 21st century.”
Hull noted he created an extensive visual library of Latin inscriptions and other realia to help him develop a curriculum to disseminate the information on different knowledge and interest levels. He plans to present to seventh and eighth graders in Lisa Masoni’s Latin classes and has a standing offer to speak in any class covering related topics.
He added that he has been invited by the California Junior Classical League to offer two workshops for students and teachers at its annual State Conference held in Palo Alto in April 2018.
Harker faculty apply for the grant by submitting an application detailing the enrichment project they would like to complete. Teachers have studied in groups, by themselves, in the United States and abroad, and each has returned with a fresh perspective on his or her subject and lots of stories to tell! Harker provides several ways for returning grant recipients to share their knowledge with their colleagues, so it is not just the students who benefit from the learning that the teachers bring home.