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2021-Miriam Patrick award announcement
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Charles Humphreys Award for Innovative Pedagogy

Whether it is writing Latin novellas, developing opportunities for vision impaired students or autistic students, developing alternative assessments, or creating materials that help students see themselves in classroom materials, Miriam Patrick is pushing boundaries to find new ways to make her students feel welcome in the classroom, whatever their gifts or challenges.  Her supporting letters speak of her as a “model for others” and calling her work with students “innovative and life-changing.”

A hallmark of Miriam’s teaching is her willingness to experiment, try new strategies, revise her curriculum, and develop new resources for her students. Rather than using a one size fits all approach, Miriam strives to understand the unique needs of her students.  In working with an autistic student, Miriam helped him to organize an in-class notebook, provided him with highly interactive activities to hold his interest, and gave him a timer to help him stay on task. In working with a blind student in her Latin I class, her colleague writes that Miriam “has created her own tactile drawings using wiki stix, attended optional trainings about the basics of braille, considered the accessibility of her educational tools and their compatibility with a screen reader, and collaborated closely with me to create an educational environment where everyone feels welcome.”  Further, as a blind student in Latin I class writes, “Ms. Patrick really knows how to work with disabled students. She really makes me feel like a part of the class and not just the blind kid. If I talk to any of the 8th graders coming up next year, I am going to tell them they totally need to take Latin." The Assistant Principal at Parkview High School attests that students with disabilities pass Latin more than any other foreign language. It should come as no surprise that Miriam is channeling her commitment to helping all students by pursuing a master’s degree in special education that will provide her with the foundational research to assist her work with students who are eager to take Latin if given a chance.

Similarly, Miriam is committed to making Latin and the ancient world accessible, interesting, and meaningful for all students.  Miriam has published stories giving voice to those whose point of view is rarely heard, stories about Pluto and Eurydice through Pomegranate Beginnings, a small press that she co-founded with Rachel Ash. She is field-testing new stories that highlight women and non-Romans, such as Elagabalus and his mother. She has also found ways for students to research the relationships between colonialism and the artifacts in local museums, as well as to research gods and goddesses from around the world--not just Greco-Roman divinities.  She is intentionally incorporates images and perspectives from a diverse range of cultures to welcome the 67% of her students who are non-white.  Her materials for Black History Month are used by her colleagues and are available for free online.  She has given dozens of presentations and workshops on topics such as social justice in the Latin classroom, removing barriers to success in the foreign language classroom, comprehensible input, untextbooking, and teaching with novellas. She serves as a member of the American Classical League Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

As one of her colleagues writes, “I am deeply honored to teach with her, and I am endlessly impressed by her work, both in terms of reaching all learners and of broadening the interesting stories we tell in class, both about the Romans and in their language.”  Her nominator sums it up well: Miriam “is shaping the future of the Classics by creating a curriculum that is designed around inclusion and research, and this may not be as flashy as some forms of innovation, but it is as, if not more, important to not only creating the future of Classics, but creating ANY future of Classics.” The American Classical League is delighted to honor Miriam Patrick as the 2021 recipient of the Charles Humphreys Award for Innovative Pedagogy.