Even though John Gotto wrote this, “Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades?” and even though I agree with him, what am I to do?
Incidentally, I don’t deal with very many rude students. But on a daily basis, I deal with students only interested in grades. It’s depressing. I can teach you to read the New Testament in Latin or in Greek But what of it? Only one question seems to matter.
“Will I be getting an A?” Sigh.
Every other day, I receive requests to grade the work of my students. Nope. No longer. (If I am currently grading your work, I will continue to do so. But, I am taking on no new graded work.)
Remember. When students send their work to me, they send their work in the ancient Latin or in ancient Greek. Could you grade that? It’s harder than you think it is.
If a student sends sloppy careless work, I could spend an hour or two on a single email. I sometimes receive hundreds of emails a day. It is no longer physically possible to keep up. If a half dozen lazy students send sloppy work, I am sunk for a week. Happens all the time.
On the other hand, It takes me about two hours to create and publish a test. My site will then grade your work automatically, and (Unless you cancel) track your grades.
Just published a test for Second Year Latin this morning. Please let me know if you spot any mistakes.
While doing some research for a recent rant, I came across the following article by John Taylor Gotto.
by John Taylor Gatto
I TAUGHT FOR thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn’t seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren’t interested in learning more. And the kids were right: their teachers were every bit as bored as they were.
Warning. Rant coming.
I am a hard-core opponent of the public school system. But, let’s get something straight.
I am not mad at the kids in the system. They are victims. Why would I be angry at the victims?
Why am I so opposed to the public school system? Simple. The U.S. government uses its badges and its guns to extract money from me. They then use this money to educate children in atheism.
I am not a Roman Catholic. But, it does not upset me at all that the Roman Catholic Church has a school in my town. Why? Because no Roman Catholic priest is ever going to show up at my house with a badge and a gun demanding that I pay for the education of all those Catholic boys and girls.
I am sick of hearing about the “good schools” here in middle Tennessee… or anywhere in America, for that matter. Sorry. “Good schools” do not use force to extract money from unwilling citizens.
I am sorry, Virginia. I know you don’t want to hear this, but, there is no such thing as a “good” public school. Just in case you are not following, I will say it again. “Good” schools don’t send guns and badges to take my money. If I don’t want to pay for a product, I should not have to pay for it.
Most of my property taxes go to public school funding. I have been a homeowner since 1997. I have spent an average of $2,000 per year on property taxes since 1997. Soooo, that’s about $40,000.
$40,000 for a product I didn’t want, didn’t use, and vehemently oppose.
I suspect I will be a homeowner for the next 40 years, or so. Another $80,000 down the drain.
I know what you are going to say. “But, there are good Christian teachers in the public school system!” What of it? Would you call me a good teacher if I extracted money from you by force in order to teach every one Latin?
I am a good teacher. I know I am. I have seen the emails. I have heard the praise. I even have a page dedicated to the subject: https://dwanethomas.com/testimonials/
Yet, I have never taken money from any of my students, or their families, by force. I am proud of that fact. I have never worked for the government school system and I never will. Why? I will never work for them because they would pay me. They would pay me with my neighbor’s money. I am not entitled to my neighbor’s money. It isn’t mine. I will not take it.
But, what if the teaching of the public schools lined up with my beliefs? Would I support them then?
Nope. Not at all. I would not care if the schools taught only my beliefs. They could even name schools after me. I would still oppose them. Why? Because, ultimately, the government schools are based on theft.
I would love to opt out of the system. I would love to stop sending $2,000 a year to an incompetent system. But, can I? If I stop paying my taxes, I would lose the condominium I live in. The government would seize it.
By the way, why do I live in a condominium… not a house? I live in a condominium because I tried to make it in the free market as a teacher. As a result, I earned about half the income I would have earned had I worked for the government. Instead of earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year with benefits, I spent 20 years earning $25,000 to $35,000 a year with no benefits.
My kids didn’t grow up with much money and in many ways, it hurt. But, at least it wasn’t stolen money. I can live with that.
I end my rant with a couple of disturbing quotes. The first is by H. L. Mencken:
“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
The second is from Alexis de Tocqueville.
[The power of government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power… does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and hard-working animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’
Notice how nicely the two quotes dovetail? How does the government train its timid and hardworking animals?
I am a teacher. I will write a quiz for you.
Q: How does the government train its timid, hardworking animals? The government trains its timid, hardworking animals with…
If you chose number 4, give yourself an A. They do it with the public education system. And, with your money.
If you chose “none of the above, because I hate you Mr. Thomas” then look within. You may have been trained to be submissive and obedient to your government.
So, how do we change it all?
First, wake up. H. L. Mencken again:
“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”
Second, pull your kids out of the system. Make the sacrifice. Stop whining. I did. For seven years, my family lived in a 2 bedroom condominium. For seven years, my wife and I slept on a mattress on the living room floor. Our children shared the bedrooms. We moved to a larger condominium later. We still live there. But, it’s still a condo. My wife knows that she may never have a house. I hate it. It tears me up inside. I want to buy a house for her. But, I chose to swim upstream. I chose to fight the system. Sometimes, I regret my choice, but I will never regret refusing to live on stolen money.
“The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
Students are often confused by the multiple forms of “because” in Latin. A student posted the following helpful explanation in the forums:
I think I have figured out the difference between: “quia, quod, nam, enim, propter, and ob”. Did I forget to include any words that are similar? Do you think my following explanation is accurate?
“quia” and “quod” are basically the same, they mean “because” and they seem to be used when you’re answering a question.
Exmp: “Cur…?” “Quia/quod….”
I don’t think it matters which one you use.
“nam” and “enim” seem to be used more when you are making a clause or explaining something you have already said. They don’t seem to be used when answering someone who has asked you something. They work translated as “because” or as “for”.
Exmp: “Iulius solus non est, nam quattuor servi apud eum sunt.” OR “Timothius doctus est. Is enim multos libros legit.”
“propter” and “ob” seem to work better translated as “on account of” or “because of” instead of as “because”.
Exmp: “Marcus umidus est propter imbrem.” OR “Puer in domo manet ob nubes veniens.”
It isn’t too late to join any of my online classes, by the way.
To join, simply click the blue button below:
Over the weekend, I ended up sick. I’ve been sleeping in and as a result, my productivity has plummeted. If there is one silver bullet to my productivity is it summed up in the Spanish proverb:
“A quien madrugada, Dios lo ayuda.”
God helps those who are up crazy early. Or, something like that.
My second secret would be this. Never start responding to email (my biggest work time commitment) until you have moved the needle forward. In other words, do something that moves you forward personally, invest in yourself, before responding to other people’s emergencies.
These days, that’s pretty simple for me. Before starting on email, I have to spend time studying Italian and Greek.
Found this video this morning. This is more for me than anyone else, by the way. I use my blog as a way to keep up with my own progress.
Of course, if you are studying a language, and you already know another one, you can double up. For example, in the following video, she is teaching Latin grammar… in Italian.