Thank You from Sara Cain

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Societati Ipsae Sara SPD

Thank you to the officers as well as the membership of the Classical Association of
Massachusetts for your camaraderie, collegiality, and commendation. I was surprised to hear that
I would be receiving the 2017 Certificate for Excellence in Teaching and honored to accept the
award among friends at the CAM annual business meeting during MaFLA’s Jubilee 50th Annual
conference in Springfield, MA.

As I reflected on the year since ACTFL replaced MaFLA’s Annual Meeting in November 2016,
I saw some important milestones in my career and Latinity that, when looked at as a whole,
certainly help to relieve some of the anxiety that I (nd i expect many of us) have as I work
toward better Latinity and better teaching.

Just before that ACTFL conference, I had virtually met Eduardo Flores via Roberto Carfagni’s
Schola Latina. His experience included teaching at the Accademia Vivarium Novum in Rome
and is presently teaching at the college level in Mexico. His skill and kindness made it easy to
find a Latin conversation partner in him and we have been meeting every Sunday, over Skype,
since. We spent almost the entire year reading Book III of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura and have
recently moved on to Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae. All domains of my language skills
increase with each meeting and I cannot thank Eduardo enough for being a wonderful partner
and friend.

In March, at CANE’s meeting in New Hampshire I advocated for writing as an everyday part of
the Latin classroom. I revealed my thought processes for creating and grading writing
assessments. And I showed examples of student work from my middle school students and left
that session knowing that at least some of the participants’ minds and methods had been

In May, at CAM’s spring meeting in Westwood, MA I gave my first Latin lecture. From the
podium, I saw colleagues and professors listening intently as a new middle school Latin teacher
gave her thoughts about Lucretius’ relevance in our modern lives. It was the first time I had seen
a Latin lecture from a woman who was not teaching at the college level. I was honored to break
into that space and be among those who could communicate effectively in Latin. This had to be
one of my happiest moments in 2017.

Over the summer, I attended my fifth Conventiculum Bostoniense in Salem, MA where I worked
with the staff to execute the unique week of classes, friendship, and life in Latin. I watched as
novice speakers found their voices and as returning participants increased their clarity and
communication. I visited with friends from around the world and lost myself in the Latinosphere,
a place I wish I could teleport to more frequently.

In August, I demonstrated activities for the Latin classroom under the umbrella of listening at
MaFLA’s Summer Institute. With that small group of teachers excited to plan the upcoming
academic year, I worked to fit in as much listening in the target language for students (and
teachers) as possible.

And finally, now into October, I gave a 3-hour workshop at MaFLA’s Annual Conference where
I advocated for teaching strategies that are beneficial to the students outside of the general
population in our schools. I have spent my time since graduate school researching and doing
coursework on students with ADHD or perhaps who have experienced traumatizing events. I
have seen the brain scans proving that those students are wired differently and need to be taught
accordingly. And I am grateful that the participants in my workshop were willing to show their
compassion for kids as they added new routines into their everyday practice as another step
toward an inclusive classroom.

Back at Monomoy, I piloted a new 7th grade curriculum having moved everything that I was
used to teaching to an earlier year. Fifth grade was now doing what I would have asked of sixth
grade, and seventh grade was ready to advance. I hosted a five-student independent study for
seventh graders wanting to ready themselves for Latin II in eighth grade. I took almost 60
students with me to Washington D.C. for a long weekend to begin nurturing a love of travel in
my students. And I ran my favorite clubs, Latin and Volleyball, to find more ways to connect
with kids over the interests that we share.

Needless to say, this was the busiest year so far in my short teaching career. It was also the
toughest. I said goodbye to my student teaching supervisor, mentor, and friend Matt Alling. I
challenged my language colleagues in the high school to think about Latin and proficiency in
different ways. And the things I have advocated for were not always been well-received. These
obstacles that presented themselves at various points throughout this past year always found a
way to turn into clear opportunities for improving myself. I even have another guardian angel on
my side.

Again, thank you to CAM and its membership for being part of my life and for being among the
best models and mentors in the world. I could not be more grateful for this recognition after a
career-changing year toward Latinity and inclusion.

Valeatis quam optime,
Sara Cain
Monomoy Regional Middle School
Chatham, MA

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