Dum Doceo, Disco (While I Teach, I Learn)

Dana Hall Latin students in Italy.Docendo, discimus is a Latin proverb meaning: by teaching, we learn. My career as an educator, particularly for the last 18 years at Dana Hall, embodies this sentiment. My students always inspire me to think of creative ways to teach the Latin language, and to dig deeper into aspects of Roman culture that they would like to know more about. It is important to model the fact that I, too, enjoy being a student.

The most important learning experience that I have shared with students happened last March when my dream to lead a student trip to Rome and Pompeii with my colleague, Jacqui Bloomberg, came to fruition. While I had the chance to study abroad in Greece during college and explore the sites I learned about in my study of ancient Greek, my life’s path simply did not take me to Rome until last spring. To share the experience of standing in places that I had taught about for so long, with students, for the first time, is something that I will never forget. It was not always a student lagging behind at every site, but also her teacher, trying to soak in every last moment of a glimpse of the Colosseum or a house in Pompeii and running to catch up with the group. Looking out onto the ancient Forum and seeing the Curia, the Palatine Hill, the ruins of the temple of Vesta and the arch of Titus, while standing in the tabularium (the ancient records room) on the Capitoline Hill was one of the greatest moments of my life. Walking along an unassuming path to suddenly be among the ruins of ancient Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance is a moment etched permanently in my mind. To hear students read Latin texts while sitting on a stone wall at Hadrian’s villa or to hear them sing in an ancient amphitheater was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students and their teachers. I cannot thank these students enough for being such wonderful travel companions, who shared in my joy as the places I have read about for so long, finally came to life for me.

Gratias maximas vobis ago, Jacqui, Kristen, Julia, Zoe, Shayna, Ainsley, Charlotte, Sophia, Chloe, Coco, Tania, Alice and Nikki.

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About Nicole Wellington

Nicole Wellington is the World Languages Department Head and Middle and Upper School Latin teacher. She joined Dana Hall in 2002.

3 Replies to “Dum Doceo, Disco (While I Teach, I Learn)”

  1. Gratias maximas to you as well, Nicole, for sharing your memories of this trip and your love of Latin with generations of students!

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