One of the two winners of this year’s 2011 American Philological Association Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award is Anna Andresian. Her nominator describes his first encounter with her at a conversational Latin seminar – “I was immediately struck not only by her fluency and precision in speaking Latin, but also by her dynamism and creativity. The former qualities were in evidence throughout the workshop. Ms. Andresian had a chance to display the latter qualities in a presentation on teaching methods in which she demonstrated an exercise she invented. She supplied us with vocabulary lists and narrated in Latin the events of short Pink Panther cartoons displayed on a screen. She then showed the clips again, and stopped them at key, amusing moments. We were then to follow her example and use the ample vocabulary lists to discuss the scenes. The exercise worked beautifully, and we left thinking how fortunate her students must be to have a teacher who joined such energy and ingenuity to rigorous instruction.” Another recommender writes: “Anna’s approach to teaching, which makes the most of active language use and communicative strategies in the classroom, without in any way sacrificing the stress on grammatical understanding inherent in more traditional Latin teaching methodologies, has earned superlative reviews from colleagues and former students.”
A 2000 Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a 4.0 average from Brown University, Ms. Andresian went on to earn a Master of Studies degree from the University of Oxford in Latin Language and Literature. She has taught at Rocky Hill School in Rhode Island, Sage Ridge School in Nevada, and teaches currently at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado. The interest she generates among her students is palpable: “Whether it is translating a story about aliens and their misadventures on earth, using mini dry-erase boards to write our own sentences and then adding illustrations to learn the vocabulary... it feels as though every day brings a new Latin adventure.” “No teacher of language has given such a variety and multitude of ways in which to advance.” “I never thought I would be asking my parents on a Sunday afternoon to take me somewhere for the purpose of learning Latin, or looking forward with such zeal to Latin class. Thanks to Ms. Andresian, however, when people ask what I do in my free time, I gladly say ‘Latin’ ”. Students speak of creative ways in which they are engaged by her, whether being allowed to sit in beanbag chairs while practicing vocabulary or getting to make videos with the “four-inch, plastic Mini Miss Andresian action figure that was the class mascot”. Her attention to individual student learning is apparent: “She was very observant of her students’ needs and it was because of this that the students were able to improve their performance and reach new heights in the classroom.” “She took the time to really get to know us as individuals and discover the most effective teaching method for each student.” It is not surprising that Ms. Andresian has been highly successful at generating interest in Latin and in getting students to keep studying it.
From her authoring a well-reviewed user-friendly pre-collegiate grammar, Looking at Latin, to her outstanding knowledge of and use of technology for teaching, to her leadership role in spoken Latin workshops, Ms. Andresian is one of the most active and accomplished young Latin teachers around. We are delighted to recognize Ms. Andresian with a 2011 Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award. We can only imagine what additional achievements lie ahead.
The other winner of this year’s 2011 American Philological Association Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award is Sherwin Little. A classicist with a long list ofaccomplishments over the course of his career in teaching, he is described in the following way by one of his recommenders: “Sherwin Little makes things happen. His presence and encouragement are very effective sources of inspiration. He could not provide this encouragement and support without substantive intellectual resources.” Known for his excellent classroom teaching, his caring and wise mentoring of students, student teachers, and fellow teachers, and his significant classics leadership, Mr. Little has worked tirelessly and passionately throughout his career to support and promote the study of classics from his own classroom to the national scene.
Mr. Little has been teaching Latin and Greek in the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1983. He has taught at the middle school and high school levels. His courses have included sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade Latin, Latin I-V, AP Vergil, AP Latin Literature (Catullus-Horace), Latin Ia and IIa (courses he developed for special needs students), and Independent Study Greek. He started with only four classes. The Latin program now has four teachers and 25% of the students in grades 6-12 are enrolled in Latin. His teaching does not end at the door to Indian Hill High School. He has created and chaperoned nearly a dozen student trips abroad and he and his students are regulars at State and National Junior Classical League Conventions. One former student, now a Ph.D. candidate in the sciences, writes “He would orate sections of In Catilinam during class, making sure to note how the structure and choice of words enhanced the message of the writing itself. It was really the first time that I felt able to appreciate how powerful language could be when used effectively; it had taken a Latin teacher to impart the power of prose to me.” Another student writes that “he took countless hours out of his time to work with me on my community service projects and ultimately promote the classics while benefiting the community as well.”
Recognized for his accomplishments by both the Ohio Classical Conference and CAMWS, it is at the national level that Mr. Little’s service has impacted members of the classics profession is countless ways. Serving first as ACL Vice President, and then as ACL President (the first pre-collegiate level teacher to ever do so), co-chairing the Joint APA-ACL Task Force that developed and wrote the recent Standards for Latin Teacher Preparation, serving on the AP Latin Curriculum Review Committee and the Latin Reading Proficiency Test Development Committee, in the words of his nominator, “he has helped shape the national discussion on Latin pedagogy”.
Described by a colleague in the profession as “unfailingly supportive of his colleagues,” and “ubiquitously present and persistently unflappable,” he is known for his “amazing speed and expertise when answering email inquiries from Latin teachers across the country”. It is this energy, knowledge, and action that have characterized Mr. Little’s career. In the words of a student, “I have found that he not only teaches Latin, but lives and breathes the classics as well, while convincing others to do the same.” We are delighted to recognize Mr. Little with a 2011 Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award. He has contributed to the profession immeasurably.
Stanley M. Burstein
Last updated April 18, 2012.