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Survey Results from the 2nd Annual National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week

The following are results, admittedly limited, from the survey form linked to the National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week website. Even though very few people respond, it does give us feedback needed to improve future NLTRWs.

But why even have a National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week at all? The answer is simple: we have a shortage of Latin teachers. Is it a crisis? Yes, in some ways—but it is a sign that we are creating a demand for Latin that didn’t exist 25 years ago. We can no longer hope our enthusiasm rubs off on our students. We need to speak to them directly about becoming teachers—no matter what their ages. Is high school too young to discuss career options? Is middle school? If we, the teachers, do not tell them why teaching is a great job and a respectable career, where else do you think they will hear it? Certainly not from the counselors who are often steering the smartest kids to careers in law, medicine and engineering. And if parents are discussing career options (“What do you wan to be when you grow up?”) when their children are young, so should we.

Nervous about starting? Well, read through the survey and then visit the website at to get plenty of ideas of how to address the topic with your students. Want to discuss more ideas? Then join the Latinteach discussion group (instructions for subscriptions at Perhaps you would rather we have just a week for promoting Latin and not mention teaching? Discussions for that are underway on Latinteach. We’re thinking about calling it Carpe Latinam and setting a date in September. This isn’t actually decided upon, but perhaps with your interest and your help we could get the ball rolling.

The Survey

How did you find out about National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week?
• from colleagues 46.2%
• from the Latinteach list 42.3%
• other 23.1%
• from the Classics list 23.1%
• from the ACL Newsletter 19.2%
• from another publication 3.8%
• from the APA website 3.8%
• online or newspaper article 3.8%
• from the NJCL website 3.8%
• from the ACL website 3.8%

Did you know about the NLTRW mini-grants of up to $200 to help cover costs of prmotional activities?
• Yes 53.8%
• No 46.2%

How useful did you find the NLTRW website?
Excellent 1 2 3 4 5 Poor

• 1.9

Did you download any materials for NLTRW?
• Yes 50%
• No 50%

Which printed materials did you use?
• Teach Latin in the 21st Century 53.8%
• Top Reasons 50%
• Bookmarkers 38.5%
• Secondary Considerations 34.6%
• What do you make? 19.2%

Which posters did you use?
• I want you to be a Latin teacher 34.6%
• Top Reasons poster 34.6%
• I didn’t use any. 34.6%
• Yesterday’s Teachers, Today’s teachers... 26.9%
• Gladiatrices poster 23.1%

Did you order t-shirts or flying disks to give away?
• No  73.1%
• Yes  23.1%

What changes would you like to see on the NLTRW website? That is, is there anything you’d like to add or take away?
• Wow, i didn’t know there was so much stuff on this site. I will definately post some of it. (better late than never!) And I will use it next year definitely!
• Keep adding to the promotional materials collection, especially posters and flyers. Maybe bookmarks that don’t have NLTRW but just a more general call to become a Latin teacher.
• I wish there were a way to order (and pay for) some of the materials since I don’t have access to a very good printer.

What level of education is your institution?
• high school 69.2%
• middle school 23.1%
• college/university 19.2%
• elementary 7.7%

Please describe what you did at your school for NLTRW.
• At the University of Texas at Austin, local latin teachers Ginny Lindzey, Elizabeth Heintzelman, Jo Green, Bee English, Paula Barnett, and Jennie Luongo, along with undergraduate coordinator Candace kash and faculty members Bill Nethercut and Tim Moore, visited every classics class (over 2000 students) to discuss the benefits of teaching Latin and to hand out material. We wore NLTRW teeshirts, and also gave teeshirts to prospective Latin teachers. Response was favorable, and we hope to get several more teachers-in-training.
• We ordered t-shirts for our Latin licensure candidates (most of our faculty also ordered t-shirts at their own expense—thanks to Ginny for designing UNCA shirts for us!), and held a reception for them and all our classics students; we also invited a local high school Latin teacher and one of her students who wants to be a latin teacher. I gave them a fistful of bookmarks and flyers for their high school. Good conversations, good time was had by all. We also printed color posters, and made flyers and bookmarks which we distributed in our classes. we ordered some pencils with latin mottos and keychains, but half of those unfortunately are on back order—I didn’t know this until the incomplete order arrived... When they come in, I’ll plan some activity for giving them out as prizes. Good news: at the end of the week, we had another student sign on to become a classics major with teaching licensure! Several other students indicated that they are thinking about teaching latin, too. The mini-grant was instrumental in allowing us some visibility that would have been difficult for us to achieve otherwise. We are very grateful.
• Recruited. Suggested Latin as a career. Since I always promote Latin, not much difference, except I started pushing the joys of a Latin magister magistraque. Not in school, I put up recruitment posters in the local commercial gym. Cost me $25.00 for the month. Not sure about how it worked, but did get comments.
• I discussed the value of teaching in general, and Latin specifically - especially that you teach the best and brightest students at a school. (true and makes them feel special) Gave all students book marks and handouts. I had my students make posters to hang around the school promoting latin. I also mentioned several of the famous people who majored in classics (ie: Ted Turner).
• NLTRW coincided with majors’ week this year, so we had a golden opportunity with classics majors and prospective majors gathering for lunch. in addition to talks from students about why to become a classics major and what you can do afterwards, one of the faculty (who keeps up her secondary certification) spoke about teaching, with an extensive handout giving pointers to job lists, web sites, and so on.
• On monday, I spent time in each class, discussing the benefits of being a latin teacher (which I frequently reiterate throughout the whole year). During this week, we also take the NLE and have our annual Latin banquet, where students may take the option to cook/bake genuine roman dishes. Posters are up in my classroom throughout the year, and brochures are taped to my front door for all foreign language students to see the benefits of teaching Latin!
• We put up posters and distributed bookmarks about a month ahead of time and about two weeks ahead of time announced our second annual NLTRW colloquium; the colloquium included refreshments (with which our Eta Sigma Phi chapter assisted) and a drawing for NLTRW t-shirts and copies of the teaching of Latin in American Schools: a Profession in Crisis, and consisted of brief comments on academic preparation, certification, the job market, placement services, etc., accompanied by a helpful packet of materials on these and related topics, followed by a question and answer session; about two dozen persons participated, including 15 or so undergraduate and graduate students interested in teaching and several teachers and school officials we had invited to share information.
• Each day I used a quote from the Top Reasons brochure on the afternoon announcements and drew three names (Latin students only), 2 for frisbees, 1 t-shirt. The kids loved this. On Friday with the 7th graders I had them list the pros and cons of being a teacher on the board, talked about them at length, read some things from Top Reasons and also distributed the Teach Latin in the 21st Century as well as bookmarkers. For the 8th graders, I had them listen to a 10 minute segment on the NPR website about students not being able to find jobs after graduation and moving home with their parents. (They had heard the pros and cons speech last year.) We discussed job security, ability to find a job, etc and talked about how teaching fell into these categories. They also got the brochures and bookmarkers.
• Nothing, I think that since most of my oldest students are 9th graders (since we start early) they aren’t ready for such concrete information about what they will due post college.

Is there anyway you think we can improve upon what we are currently doing for NLTRW?
• Over all, in middle school and the early high school years most kids are not really thinking yet about their career. but I think it’s still useful to take some time to talk about it!
• Let us know what other high schools are doing for this week.
• Better poster for recruitment. The kids don’t know Tom nor the Latin teachers. Get a public figure to do a commercial (Mel gibson who played a Latin teacher?) and really attract their attention. My kids ignored the picture or asked, “Who’s the geek?”
• Publicize through e-mail
• We need to find a way to get more people involved. Is there any sort of inter- or intra- school challenge that could be isssued? I’m not sure what sort of shape this would even take. I just don’t think enough schools are participating, or if they are, they aren’t letting us know.
• I wish we could convince other universities and colleges to do what UTexas does.
•, because we feel we can do more, we’re planning on extending NLTR past its W. Why not NLTRM(onth)? We were plagued with some bad weather and cancelled classes that week too, so an extended period of time for recruitment for us makes even more sense during these winter months.

This year NLTRW will fall on the first FULL week in March, not the very first week (March 7-11, 2005). Mark you calendars now, and watch the NLTRW website, hosted at the National Committee for Latin and Greek website, at  

Ginny Lindzey, Chair, CAMWS Committee for the Promotion of Latin, Porter Middle School, Austin, TX

copyright, Ginny Lindzey, 2004

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June 8 , 2004

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