Alumnus T. J. Howell Recipient of the SCS Precollegiate Teaching Award
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Thursday, November 15, 2018
The UMass Amherst Department of Classics is very pleased to announce that TJ Howell has received the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level from the Society for Classical Studies. Currently at Northampton High School (MA), TJ has taught Latin at the secondary level since 2000 when he graduated from the UMass MAT program. He has developed a highly creative approach to Latin instruction within a four-skills framework that “marries innovative language pedagogy to deep exploration of topics in an environment where language and humanistic study is welcomed and supported.” A key component of his teaching methodology is the production of Latin within the classroom and a commitment to reading proficiency in Latin.
Professor Teresa Ramsby, who nominated TJ, points out, “the walls of his classroom are decorated with evidence of student enthusiasm for the subject and competence in the language. I have seen students participate in a range of activities that indicate the considerable depth and breadth of TJ’s commitment to effective pedagogy.” Allyson Spencer-Bunch, his colleague at JFK Middle School in Northampton, and a recent graduate of the UMass Amherst MAT program, added in her recommendation letter, “since he began teaching in Northampton this fall, every parent and student who visits me has told me the same thing: they are loving Latin. They seem to be too busy getting caught up in real communication in the classroom to notice how hard they’re working and how much they’re improving.”
Beyond his own classroom, he has taught at the SALVI Rusticatio and Conventiculum Bostoniense for the last several summers, and recently started with the Biduum Minnesotanum. TJ has worked tirelessly to promote the Classics, contributing significantly to the UMass Amherst teacher-training program, mentoring no less than thirteen student teachers in their practicums while offering regular SLA workshops to their incoming students. He has contributed professional service at all levels, serving as President of the Classical Association of Massachusetts, as CANE blog editor and board member, and as a member of the recent ACTFL committee to reconsider the new Standards for Classical Language Learning. Memorably described as “a master-teacher and a consummate professional”, TJ richly deserves a 2018 SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level, and we congratulate him.
TJ joins fellow UMass MAT alums Sean Smith (1985), Sally Murphy (1995), and Ellen Sassenberg (1999) as winners, in 2007, 2004, and 2005 respectively, of this prestigious award.