Beth Venn - Middle School Latin

What do you love most about your job?
I love working with our students to help them learn a new language. All 8th graders are required to take a year of Latin, and I try to make it a valuable and enjoyable experience for them.
 
What are specific traits you work to identify and grow in students?
One of the key skills we work on in learning Latin is enhancing analytical thinking skills that students can transfer to all of their other subject areas. We also work on learning the roots in Latin vocabulary and making connections to words in English, Spanish and French.
 
Why did you choose to work in an all-girls education environment? 
Although I went to public, co-ed schools through 12th grade, I attended a women’s college, and there I experienced first-hand the value of a single-sex educational environment. As a teacher, I now appreciate even more deeply how well this environment fosters the mind, the character, and the confidence of each girl as she grows into a young woman.
 
Why did you choose RPCS?
I came to RPCS because I wanted to work with students in an independent school and an all-girls environment. I remember visiting the school for the first time as a job candidate, and I said to myself, I would want this type of education and learning environment for my own children.
 
Why is education at the grade level you teach important?
I have learned so much about Middle School education while teaching at RPCS. Early adolescence is a lively, exciting, and dynamic time. The transformation that I witness in our students from sixth to eighth grade is remarkable. I enjoy being a part of that process and participating in the intellectual and emotional development of our students.

What do you want an RPCS education to mean to our graduates?
It is my hope that our graduates carry a genuine love of learning in a wide range of areas, a deep commitment to engaging with their communities for the greater good, and the confidence and resilience to pursue their dreams.
"I teach because... I love learning – my own and that of my students."
Why did you choose the subject you teach?
I chose to teach Latin because it was my favorite subject throughout school and college. I loved solving the puzzle of the language and the mystique of an ancient civilization.
 
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is that it should be a good experience for each and every student. In the range of topics I cover, from mythology to grammar, I hope that there is something that appeals to each learner. As we work through the language, I hope that students recognize the competence that they are building, and I strive to provide attainable challenges so that students will stretch to the next level without giving up in frustration.
 
What is your favorite moment in the classroom?
One of my favorite moments in the classroom is when we do “derivative brainstorms”. As a class, students try to think of 25 or more English words that come from one particularly fruitful Latin root that we’re covering. It’s a challenge for them and for me, but as the year goes on, the students can see their progress in making more extensive connections in building their English vocabulary.