You may think you know Doc Greenberger well, but you would be surprised at what he hides under his kilt! Did you know that he can legally marry a couple, just as he did with Mr. and Mrs. Governale? We conducted an interview with Riverhead High School’s Latin teacher to see what he thought about the study of Latin and how it can benefit students. If you’re interested in learning the language, pay attention to what he has to say! Doc is a great teacher with a positive attitude who always makes everything about school enjoyable. Today we find out from Doc how he feels about his teaching skills and the ways of learning Latin.
While in the Latin room, it’s really easy to see the years of tradition and secrets that draw curiosity from the entire school. The room itself can show you why Latin can make someone, in the words of Doc, “a better person.” Latin is said to be very beneficial to students and Doc has the idea that there are “3 sorts of benefits: the increase in vocabulary, and recognition of Latin roots in English, and an increase in grade[s].” Doc also believes that when Latin is applied to everyday life it can be used to “engage in training our brains” and to “find the patterns that underlie sentences;” which then can lead to an improvement in everyday writing skill. Doc also believes that his students can learn “critical thinking, vocabulary recognition, and self discipline,” by studying Latin.
Despite it’s many benefits, enrolling in Latin is not for everyone; Doc warns,“the single most significant difficulty is that students don’t sustain effort and Latin is unforgiving of laziness.” Latin can be a very fun and very beneficial class, but without student effort there is no advantage. Why do students take Latin? Doc answers with “somebody told them to,” or the fact that “Latin is associated with the professions.”
Although Latin is a dead language in so far as it can’t really update or change, the teachings of Latin can evolve. According to Doc, teaching styles have been updated “to make the language more palatable and, generally speaking, [the changes] haven’t been successful.” The basics of the “traditional curriculum are very old fashioned.” Doc also says that he does not acknowledge the changes and he says “I’ve ignored them because I have always delivered the best quality product I can, and I haven’t felt the need to change.” Doc has taken Latin to a new level by adding fun into the curriculum and it just works. He recreates the ancient world in his room with shields made of trash can lids and sacred sacrifices to the gods. Doc is a very strange teacher and a delight to meet, and you can never be prepared for what you’re going to encounter when you walk through that door.