Growing up, I did not have much of a chance to travel around. I only took my first plane, from Barcelona to Dublin, when I was 21 years old! However, I found a way to learn languages without leaving my small hometown: Latin and ancient Greek, contrary to popular belief, are easy languages to learn.
I fell in love head over heels with Classics, gained a degree and teaching qualification at UB and became a secondary school teacher. But very quickly it became evident that students did not always share my enthusiasm. I often met students who arrived with very low expectations, and they sometimes lacked all foundation to be able to read Latin and use it effectively. They thought the subject was boring. They wanted to give it up as soon as possible.
Were they right to think Latin was useless, boring and difficult? In part, they were actually right: they had been taught Latin and Greek as some form of logical puzzle. They had been told to memorise long lists of vocabulary and grammar, which they were then unable to apply to real texts. It was frustrating and I had to find ways to fix their background knowledge and start approaching the language in a different way.
Thankfully, I had also been learning modern languages and I soon started to teach English as a foreign language. To cut a long story short, I ended up teaching Scuba Diving - I certified students with PADI - and travelling the world meeting students from all walks of life. This was an eye-opening experience: I found the best methods to learn actively, and developed a teaching style based on communication, familiarity and relaxation. When you are taking a student underwater, you really want to make sure they will remember your teaching!
When I teach Latin and Greek, my aim is for my students to immerse themselves in the language and have the same transformative experience I saw in my scuba diving and foreign language classes. I use the methods that work best for each individual student, and my lessons are full of active use of the language, which leads to long term learning. We sing, we eat and we chat, and the grammar becomes a natural part of the process.
When I am not working, you can find me mudlarking on the foreshore of the river Thames - feel free to ask about my archaeological finds! Since moving to the UK most of my dedication to the underwater world goes to learning with the Nautical Archaeological Society. If you wonder about shared hobbies, my favourite subjects are cooking, travelling, History, and art and crafts - especially linocut printing!
I keep very active in the Classics community and I am a member of the ARLT Committee, and apart from my blog I write book reviews. You can read some examples of my reviews here and here. I am always happy to have a chat or informal assessment, please just click here to get in touch.
Do you still have some more questions? Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page.