Life as a post-doc
After graduating in the spring of 2012, Ted Gellar-Goad started a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at Wake Forest University in the Department of Classical Languages. Below he shares his first-year experiences. Already Ted’s innovative teaching methods have caught the attention of undergraduates, earning him acclaim in the campus newspaper.
When I was in grad school, everyone told me that the first years after the PhD are way, way busier than any time in grad school, and that’s true — except, perhaps, for the semester I took two of Sharon James’s seminars.
My first year past the PhD has me teaching (as the too-lengthily-titled “Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Classical Languages”) at Wake Forest University, not too far from home! It’s a small but energetic and collegial department here, with a committed group of undergraduate Latin majors. In fact, Wake Forest and Winston-Salem has over the past year hosted the 2012 National Convention of the Junior Classical League, the 2012 fall conference of the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina, the 2012 conference of the Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference, the 2013 National Convention of Eta Sigma Phi, and the 2013 state conference of the North Carolina Junior Classical League.
I’ve been kept particularly busy this spring, as I’ve been shepherding my Greek and Roman Comedy students through the process of preparing scenes for public performance at the Eta Sigma Phi and NC JCL conventions in April, and because Latin Prose Composition is, by its very nature, grading-heavy. (Not to mention the “gamification” I’ve done with it, where the students play heroes of myth fighting monsters and exploring Mediterranean lands by practicing Latin grammar…)
I’ve had a fun year teaching four brand-new-to-me courses: Intermediate Greek (only three students!; we read Lysias 1 and 3, and selections from the source reader of Athenian curse tablets that I am preparing with former department faculty member Werner Riess, now at Universität Hamburg, and a colleague at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Zinon Papakonstantinou), an advanced Latin course on Roman elegy, an in-translation general-education course on Graeco-Roman comedy, and Latin Prose Composition. I got a lot of great pedagogical “continuing ed,” as it were, from Wake Forest’s Teaching and Learning Center.
But the work is worth it. The teaching is extremely rewarding in and of itself, the students here are great (they’ll actually do things that I ask them to do!), my departmental colleagues are super-supportive, and I’m close enough to Chapel Hill that I can pop back to home base for a talk or Kim’s baked goodies (or a performance of Rite of Spring) now and then!
Read Wake Forest University’s undergraduate newspaper for more about how Ted is making Latin fun for his students.
Photos courtesy of Ken Bennett, University Photographer, Wake Forest University, http://wakeforest.tumblr.com.