Lorraine Gagliano Inspires Students to Love Latin

Meet Lorraine Gagliano, Hutchison's Latin teacher. Mrs. Gagliano enjoys seeing individual students' English vocabulary and confidence grow. She hopes to spread her passion for the language and culture with her students.
Editor's Note: Answers have been shortened and edited for clarity and conciseness.

Describe your career experience. Are there any key accomplishments you would like to share?

My first year of teaching was in 2001. I have taught Latin and archaeology at the middle school, high school, and university levels, while at times staying at home with my two school-aged daughters over the years. At my last school, I increased the Latin enrollment by 25% in only one year, and I hope to increase the excitement for and enrollment in Latin at Hutchison over the coming years.

Share a fun fact your students might not know about you that they might find interesting.

I was a classical archaeologist for nearly a decade, and I excavated in Athens and Pompeii, among other sites. My family also does a family Halloween costume each year. This year, we dressed up as characters from Disney's Encanto.

What do you like about being at Hutchison?

I love the freedom of curriculum and the small class sizes, which allow me to get to know my students. The excellent lunches are becoming a favorite, too!

I have been impressed with the students' preparation and focus during class, and there is a great deal of mutual respect and freedom at Hutchison. Students feel the freedom to participate and take calculated risks in class discussions, which leads to their growth as scholars.
What is your favorite concept and/or lesson to teach?

I love to teach students anything that may seem challenging at first. For beginning Latin students, it can be how to conjugate verbs, and for more advanced students, that may be what the subjunctive mood is and all the possibilities of what it entails. I also enjoy helping to increase students' understanding of English grammar, which makes them more confident writers.

What are your favorite moments with a student?

It is incredible to see students understand concepts that they initially thought were "too difficult." When I see the lightbulb turn on and a student becomes more confident in knowing the why and what the next steps are, I feel that I have helped them to understand and love Latin, especially translating. I love bonding over corny Latin jokes and hearing students share their love of Latin, which isn't dead at all. It's just Roman around. :)

How do you get the results you want each student to achieve?

My classes involve a fair amount of repetition of terms and concepts but require application, rather than regurgitation, of material on assessments. I try to make sure that each class involves humor, song requests, and often a game to review concepts.

How do you keep current with the subject area(s) you cover and apply the latest learning research?

The Latin teacher community is a small, close-knit group of colleagues, both here in Memphis and across the U.S. We share many ideas on Facebook, but it also doesn't hurt that I can discuss pedagogy with my husband, who teaches Latin next door at MUS.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

My Latin teacher and his wife, who was also a Latin teacher, changed the course of my life by investing in me. I would have a very different life if not for their influence. I wouldn't have traveled and excavated across the Mediterranean, lived in Rome, or even met my husband in graduate school if I hadn't taken Latin in high school.

What do you want a student to learn from having known you?

I want each student in my classes to feel safe, loved, and educated. I hope they will gain an appreciation for how the Latin language and culture of the Romans appear in so many aspects of our own modern languages and culture. 

What interests you outside the classroom? What are you personally passionate about?

I love gardening and serve on the PTO grounds beautification committees for both of my daughters' schools.  I believe in fostering beauty in all learning environments for students, faculty, and staff and try to give back by procuring plants and filling planter pots outside their schools.

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