The Catholic University of America

Classics in the High Schools

The study of the ancient world, and particularly of the Latin language, is enjoying a resurgence at the secondary-school level, and the employment outlook for future Latin teachers is good. There are positions to fit nearly every teaching vision, in large cities and smaller towns all over the country, at public, private, and religious schools. So if you would like to teach Latin, ancient history, Roman culture, and perhaps even a little Greek, what should you do to prepare?

The educational path

Bachelor's degree

To begin preparations for a career in teaching, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree. For maximum flexibility in your future work, this degree at CUA should be in either Classics (Greek and Latin) or Classical Humanities (Latin option). The CUA BA in Classical Civilization can also lead to a teaching career, but generally this would be in high school history, rather than in Latin.

Particularly if you envision working in secondary-level education (this is where most classicists generally teach, although there are a few positions for primary-level Latin teachers), you should consider adding two features to your bachelor's degree. The first is an extra area of specialization, i.e. another subject besides Latin that you will study in sufficient depth to be able to teach it. Common combinations with Latin include English, history, and modern foreign languages, but you might even select a scientific area or math (the latter, in particular, is in demand).

The other feature that you should add to your BA is some preparation or planning for teaching certification. CUA does not offer certification for Latin, but you can pursue a minor in secondary education that will assist you in working towards that goal.

Certification

Certification is state-level licensure that shows that an individual has been trained to teach and has demonstrated the necessary skills to do so successfully. The acquisition of teaching certification involves the accumulation of a series of specific college courses in areas such as education, psychology, and human development; the completion of a "student teaching" phase in the classroom during which you are apprenticed to a local, more experienced teacher; and the passing of state certification exams.

If you are a CUA undergraduate in the Department of Greek and Latin, you can use the minor in secondary education to build up some of the courses towards certification. Consult the departmental undergraduate adviser or the Department of Education for more information.

Master's degree

Many high schools, including all public schools, mandate that teachers earn a master's degree within a few years of beginning their careers. Schools often offer logistical assistance and sometimes even limited financial support for this requirement, as teachers generally pursue the master's degree part-time while continuing to work.

If you have earned or are earning a BA degree which does not include teaching certification, one option for you to consider for the immediate future is an MAT degree. The MAT ("Master of Arts in Teaching") is offered in Latin by a number of programs around the US: it is essentially a master's degree in Latin combined with a significant number of education courses. Some MATs even include a student teaching component and thus can lead directly to certification.

Teaching Latin: organizations and links

There is a great deal of logistical and organizational support available for Latin teachers.  Here are some examples: