Report from the Field – John Piazza – 2

Hi Ben –

I am so excited to be able to tell you that I am breaking through. For the first time in two years, I can begin to relax and be comfortable with who I am in front of my students. I am not feeling constantly judged and scrutinized. You know how trying that first (and to an extent) that second year was for me. You were there to help me through it. In all of my classes this year I have begun with personalized work in Latin, and I have no doubt that this is the way to go, and no student attitude will sway me from making my students the center of my Latin work. And, I’m no longer teaching those kids who were infected with fear.

A Spanish teacher named Kristi Lentz contacted me. Apparently you and others at IFLT recommended that she contact me when she is in Berkeley. Really positive and eager to learn more about CI. Having her positive presence in my classroom was great for me.  I also put her in touch with Don Read.

The following Latin text [ed. note: see the next post on this topic for that text] is the result of 9 days of CWB based entirely on student cards (with names and drawings) and our conversations about them. On day 11, I gave them this reading, and they could read and comprehend, even translate it without difficulty. This is first year Latin.

Thank you again for helping me to get to this point. There are challenges ahead, but I feel like I can deal with whatever comes my way, because I have faith in myself as a compassionate teacher. You had faith that I could get to this, even when I wasn’t sure.

With love,




1 thought on “Report from the Field – John Piazza – 2”

  1. So, why is it, John, that you don’t feel so constantly judged and scrutinized? Do you have a better rapport with your admin? with your dept? Is it that students now see you as more a part of the fabric of the school instead of as an outsider?

    I imagine at Berkeley Public HS there are some strong personalities among some deep-seated faculty.

    My current admin subtly manipulates teacher evaluations to keep teachers on edge. I’ve found a peace of mind about that. Or rather, I’m coming to find a peace of mind about it. A lot of my peace of mind comes from accepting that the great deal of work I put in to my current school community will reflect well on me if and when I need to look for another job.


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