PHS Profile: Kathleen Lewis

Latin teacher Kathleen Lewis was originally an English major at Rutgers University, studying Latin on the side. She switched to studying Latin full time in graduate school at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has taught at PHS for 23 years.

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Photo by Annie Gao

How does Latin relate to the current world ?

One thing that we do in class every day is a thing called Latin Experiences, so students share with me where it comes up in their other classes and the rest of their lives. A student … told me [April 6] they had a Latin experience while watching K-Pop, so when people say Latin is dead, it’s kind of a myth or misnomer because Latin is everywhere.


What keeps you interested in Latin?

There’s always something else to study—the culture, the language. I meet people all the time, and as soon as I say, “I’m a Latin teacher,” they have something to share with me—so it’s really neverending.


What advice do you have for incoming freshman who are interested in taking Latin?

People tend to assume that Latin’s going to be too hard, but it’s really not—everyone can succeed in Latin, it’s not an exclusive language like it used to be in the past. Students that take Latin and have had trouble with spoken languages in the past can really flourish in Latin because it’s not spoken, so it speaks for that population as well. And it can also be very challenging for the most motivated students.


Why Latin as opposed to other languages or careers?

I really enjoyed it; I thought it was super fun to learn the origins of all the English words and then as I started getting into the history, art and culture, and it’s such a large field with many curious things to learn about.


How has being a Latin teacher affected your life/perspective on life?     

Being a teacher in general has really kept me in tune with what’s going on with the kids, and how they view the world, so being a teacher is a lot of fun and everyday is a different day. There’s a lot of energy and positiveness that you don’t necessarily get in the adult world.

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