Here are comments by parents that help me determine that students are learning and determine in some ways why they are learning.
One couple has a girl in second year and one in first. Very different personalities and appearance, both good students. The elder helps the younger with pronunciation; she also has seen Latin in her biology and history books and even translated a Latin phrase correctly for her mom. She wants to go into law and her sister into nursing. Both girls report they love the class. The elder benefits from the good grades she gets in Latin to boost her GPA.
This report not only shows students using the language but gives another good reason not to be stingy with grades.
Another couple came in to say their daughter in first year has already had two years in jr hi! She is a good student but very quiet. They were in agreement with my suggesting she transfer into second year. One criterion will be the textbook she used plus, of course, her comfort. She will be a freshman among sophomores.
A couple from last year wanted to know if there were any problems. I reported their daughter is much more out-going this year she is Native American from the reservation and continues to do well in class. She had just come in for a make-up exam and is very responsible. They reported that she uses a lot of Latin around the house just to confound them.
A mom dealing with a ADHD kid who chose Latin and is in love with the language and the class. He has turned in only one assignment out of about 10 but is enthusiastic and active in class. We agreed that squelching that would not be a good idea. I explained to the mom that I like to work with the students directly and “cultivate” them. With this boy, I have already approached him about the missing assignments and will tell him he needs to come in during lunch to do assignments. I told her we will work on current material rather than make up the missing work. She wants to make sure he doesn’t miss the social interaction at lunch but a couple of times a week would be OK. I reminded her that his enthusiasm for the internet would not interfere if he were getting the work done during lunch. She was so pleased with our interaction that she returned after talking to other teachers. She likes the fact that I have a professional mental health background working with children and very much approves of my teaching method and grading principles. She expressed her happiness that I am her son’s teacher. He has recently changed meds and she finds the effects dubious. She knows I will watch him and work with him.
One man whose wife I have spoken to briefly a couple of times as she is active in the school expressed almost tearful gratitude over what I have done with his son. His son appreciates my class and my teaching so much and the father was impressed that I took so much time to check on a question his son had about English usage. I was able to express my own appreciation for his son, who sparks many good exchanges in the class.
The mother of a second year student stopped by and he was standing nearby. She was happy to hear that he continues to do well in the class. And a mother of a first year student came by to ask about her son and I was able to report that he is one of the top 5 or so students in the class. They speak Egyptian Arabic at home.