Carmenta Tutor Profile: Amy V.
Amy V., Ph.D.
Ohio State University
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- Latin Prose Composition
- SAT Prep (English)
- Music: Theory, Voice, Music History, Diction for Singers
- German (any level), Language and Literature
- Beginning to Intermediate French
- Beginning Italian
- Writing and English Language Arts (any level)
- World/British/American Literature
- Creative Writing, Poetry and Fiction
Amy earned her A.B. at Hamilton College, with concentrations in Classics and German, and her master’s degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. After graduating from Queen’s, she studied at the University of Durham in England, and for several years sang opera professionally. On returning to the U.S., she completed her doctorate at Ohio State University.
Years Worked As Teacher/Tutor
Standardized Tests Taken
SAT: Total 1300 (Verbal 780, Math 520) (Test of Standard Written English 50/50) (Last taken 1980)
GRE: Total 2170 (Verbal 790, Math 630, Reasoning 750) (Last taken 1995)
AP Music: 5/5 (Last taken 1979)
AP English: 5/5 (Last taken 1980)
AP German: 5/5 (Last taken 1980)
AP European History: 5/5 (Last taken 1980)
New York State Regents Exams (Last taken 1980):
New York State School Music Association
Solo voice 1977 level 5 A+
Solo voice 1978 level 6 A+
Solo voice 1979 level 6 A+
Amy is now in the 46th Grade, if you count teaching years. She does, because she is always still learning something or other.
Amy taught for eight years at Baylor University, where she was Assistant Professor of Classics in the Honors College. Currently she teaches in the Philosophy Department at St. John Fisher College, in Rochester, NY.
Amy’s research interests in German literature of the 18th century and in Homeric Epic come together in her forthcoming book, The Last of Homer’s Children: Goethe Singing Epic. She is also interested in the Inklings, publishing articles on C.S. Lewis’ use of Latin and editing several of Owen Barfield's major works. Ongoing research projects include hospitality in the Homeric world, Homeric performance, and a study of classical toponyms in Upstate New York.
Teaching Latin prose composition is one of the great pleasures of Amy’s life; her students have translated all manner of texts into Latin, including excerpts from Jane Austen, Sojourner Truth, and Lewis Carroll. Amy’s most recent prose compositors have also invented an excellent Latin Grace to be said before chocolate and other desserts.
Four full years of Amy’s time in university were spent living in a falling-down castle in the North of England. Hence, she can make a coal-fire in five minutes with her coat and mittens still on. She is not afraid of bats, jackdaws, very large spiders, and other fortress-vermin, and never panics when the ceiling falls down.
Amy collects reproductions of Greek and Roman arms and armor, lobsters in any medium, books, and other books, and still more books. The lobsters are easily explained. They are a lame joke: the lobster’s Latin name is Homarus Americanus, and Amy is an American Homerist!
- I’m a prize-winning poet and translator. (Won the Brighton High School Jean Jenson Writing Prize in 1979, and the Hamilton College Weaver Prize in Poetry in 1984.) I also won the Hamilton College Fitch Prize in Latin. My present long-term translation project is the Iliad; I’m about seven books in, and confidently predict that I’ll be done before I’m 67.
- After earning my MA in Classics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, I was awarded an Overseas Research Studentship by the British government, and began a doctoral program at the University of Durham. While in Durham, I lived for four years in Brancepeth Castle, where I learned to make fires, wine, and bread.
- I’ve given many papers at CAMWS and CAMWSS meetings, also meetings of the Texas Classical Association, and the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. I’ve given two papers at meetings of the organization formerly known as the APA. My publications extend outside of Classics: I have published a paper and a book-chapter on C.S. Lewis, and have edited an essay and a book by Owen Barfield, an Inkling friend of Lewis.
- I was an NEH fellow at Princeton University in 2004, participating in a seminar on teaching opera from a multidisciplinary perspective.
- I’ve also given papers as a visiting speaker at St. John Fisher College, Baylor University, Eastern University, Calvin College, Princeton University, Hamilton College, and twice at the Wyoming Festival of the Humanities, where I was a keynote speaker in two consecutive years.
- My musical life has always enriched my life as a scholar and classicist. (Indeed, my second Wyoming paper was on the British poet and composer John Dowland and his musical medicines for melancholy, and included live performance of three of Dowland’s songs.)
- I have studied music history and performance at the Eastman School of Music and the Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, NY, at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, at Hamilton College, in Salzburg, Austria, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and at the University of Durham in England. Music history and early music have long been part of my life; my late mother was an announcer at Rochester New York’s public radio station WXXI, and I am presently a regular guest commentator on that station, usually on subjects to do with Greek and Roman life. In college, I was Classical Music Programming Director for WHCL-FM, and a frequent concert reviewer for the Hamilton College Spectator. As a professor, I developed and taught a capstone course in the Honors College: Great Texts and Music. In my capacity as a member of Baylor University’s Graduate Faculty, I have served as external examiner for numerous graduate students on the M. Mus. and D. Mus. levels in subjects ranging from Music History to Solo Performance to Conducting.
- I have sung professionally in Austria, Canada, England, and the US, sometimes as a chorister, but also as a solo singer in opera, operetta, and solo recitals. As a young coloratura soprano, I made my operatic debut in the role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute with the Durham Independent Opera in 1989, and later appeared as the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, as First Israelite Woman in Handel’s Solomon, and as Mlle. Silberklang in Mozart’s The Impressario.
- In light opera, after making the switch to mezzo-soprano repertoire, I have played the Gilbert and Sullivan roles of Katisha (Mikado), Lady Jane (Patience), Little Buttercup (HMS Pinafore), Ruth (Pirates of Penzance), Lady Blanche (Princess Ida) Angelina (Trial by Jury), and the Elderly Goddess Diana (Thespis). I have sung solo recitals of lute songs and German Lieder, performed at many a wedding, and in the summer of 2008, sang Schubert’s song-cycle Die Schöne Müllerin in Forest Row, Sussex, with pianist Alan Stott.
- Like many early music performers, I also enjoy working with new music, and had the honor of being the first singer to perform British composer Brian Inglis’
demanding solo piece: Responsory: for Virgins, to a text of Hildegard of Bingen. In 1991, I sang the second European performance of Andrew Baker’s four-movement
solo cantata A Fancy for the Countess. More recently, in 2009, I sang the second North American performance of Carlos Colón Quintana’s settings of three
poems by El Salvadorean poet Alfredo Espina: Dichosofui, La Mataron Un Dia, and El Nido, with a small chamber orchestra. These pieces were recorded the
following week with pianist Guilherme Almeida, and can be found on Youtube:
- Presently, I am a member of Rochester’s light opera company, the Off-Monroe Players. In the St. Thomas Episcopal Choir, I am an occasional cantor and a regular member of the alto section. I also sing with the Rochester Oratorio Society, and am the mezzo-soprano rehearsal soloist. Upcoming performances include Handel’s Messiah in December 2014, Siegel’s Kaddish in January 2015, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, in the summer of 2015.
- Other trivia: I own the largest cat in Monroe County, a Himalayan/Maine Coon cross by the name of Sherpa. He is an alumnus of the local shelter.
- Besides nearly two decades of Latin and Greek teaching experience, I have the following teaching experience in other subjects:
Music: 2 years’ university teaching, some 10 years a private tutor
German: 1 semester university teaching, 1 year tutoring
Writing and Language Arts: 10 years teaching writing-intensive undergraduate and graduate courses, including Great Texts, two year’s tutoring
Koine Greek: 1 year university teaching, some 2 years’ total tutoring
Archaeology: 1 year university teaching
My Experience With Carmenta
Teaching small bunches of interested and motivated students in a comfortable domestic setting is something very few people get to do these days. Gone are the days when a family simply employed a live-in governess or tutor. It’s a pity, really. Home has always seemed to me the very best place of all for learning and teaching. I’ve always thought education ought not to be a mass process. I also believe that when we make education happen only in a building we travel to and away from, we’re in danger of convincing ourselves that teaching and learning have nothing to do with real life. What could be worse? Life itself is continual learning and teaching.
Carmenta Skype teaching is consequently just my cup of tea. My students are right there, and I can see and hear them clearly, listening to tone of voice, pacing, hesitation, enthusiasm. Perhaps I have a more vivid imagination than most, but during class, it really does seem as though my on-line students were right here in the room with me. That said, with Internet teaching we have a few magic powers – all of us – that we wouldn’t have in person: what I write on the pretend-blackboard of the message line is preserved for later reference. When a student shares an image or a sound file with me, we all share it instantly. We sometimes even research together. We are not bound to one place, which is also an advantage. When we travel, we simply log on, and class happens wherever we happen to be. I prefer to do almost all of my teaching right here in my own comfy office with my library and cat nearby, but students on the road have logged in from cars, from parks, and even once from a Starbucks. This kind of flexibility isn’t possible with conventional classes. In conventional classes in a traditional classroom, a student who misses a class misses the notes from the blackboard, or has to depend on a classmate’s note-taking skills. Not so for us! The notes are there on-line, and I am always available by email for random questions. (I enjoy getting email from students, and I get quite a bit of it.)
I would recommend learning Latin and Greek through Carmenta for a host of reasons, but as a singer and a speaker, the one that seems to crown all other reasons is the chance to listen and hear, practice and grow confident with pronunciation. For some reason, while speaking in public in front of a large class, people tend to get shy. With Carmenta, speaking Latin is no big risk: we know it’s only just us, and we’re listening with kindly ears and focusing carefully.
Somehow, I had never expected that Internet students would seem quite real to me. But that was before I began to teach for Carmenta. The twenty-person classes I teach at the university don’t give me as much chance to really know students as a five-person Carmenta class does! The students on my screen are genuinely dear to me, and though I suppose I imagine them taller than they really are, I think I have a pretty clear picture of each of them in my head. They have, after all, been here with me in my study for many hours. The screen and speakers seem like an open window, sometimes.
Another thing I like about Carmenta is that I have plenty of contact with parents. They’re there, they’re in touch, and they do everything possible to make classes work well. You hardly ever see university students’ parents, or even hear from them. But I get to message my Carmenta parents whenever needed, and it’s a great pleasure.
There are many, many things I love about working for Carmenta. Things are efficient, there’s almost no paperwork, students are always kind to one another, classes seem to speed by in no time at all, there are no fire-drills, there is time for us to have fun and to get to know one another as we learn, and we learn with an efficiency that almost amazes me. Last and least, but true: it’s an ignoble thing to have to admit, but there is a certain joy in teaching in my warm bright room, looking out at the deep snow, and realizing that I, for one, do not have to go and shovel the car out. I’m already at school.
Amy is very personable and professional at the same time. Her allusions to Latin literature, its nuances and the characteristics of various authors of antiquity make me feel like I am getting closer to the real thing, not just the academic text. She shares interesting etymological tidbits that whet the appetite to know the ‘real story’ behind the English language. Very positive and affirming and patient.
Amy is extremely knowledgeable. She is a seasoned academic and classicist. In addition to addressing grammar and vocabulary in class she always tries to give us historical context.
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Amy is a really great teacher, and I really enjoy her passion for teaching Latin. In her class we try to relate as much as we can about the language we are learning to the Roman culture that it was spoken in. She has not been teaching our class for very long, but she already understands all our personalities, and she tries to help us connect with Latin in personal ways. We spend a lot of time reviewing our homework, which helps us really understand where we were correct, and where we do need to practice. It also helps us understand the pitfalls that we could have run into, and that some of our classmates may have. I am really looking to finishing out the semester with our class and Amy!
Sturbridge, MA, USA
Amy was an amazing teacher. In addition to being an expert, she is extremely supportive. I would feel now confident talking to a Roman soldier any time!
New Canaan, CT, USA
Amy is an awesome teacher. I love my Latin classes with her. She makes the class both fun and interesting. I feel I have learned a lot this semester.
Upton, MA, USA
...[Amy] has been an excellent teacher and has made the learning of Latin a very enjoyable experience. She has a way of teaching that has made learning Latin come naturally. I studied Latin in other curriculums before coming to the Carmenta program and I have truly noted a significant change in the learning style. It has allowed me to fully comprehend what I need to learn and excel in my efforts in learning Latin!
Bristol, TN, USA
My current Latin tutor Amy is a truly dynamic teacher. She brings lots of energy and interest to all of our classes, despite the fact that they are rather early in the morning! She involves herself in our classes, not only correcting our homework, but allowing us to learn what to look for in correcting our own work by allowing us to ask questions about her own translations. I find this to be really encouraging and helpful when correcting work. I have been very happy to be studying with Amy this semester.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
My Latin teacher is Amy. She has taught me for a semester and a half...I think she is great at balancing out class time and introducing new topics. Also, Amy is excellent at helping me when I don’t have my sentence right and need some help. Amy knows how to stick to the schedule but still make sure we know what we’re doing. Finally, Amy is very supportive and encouraging.
Owings Mills, MD, USA
I have so much fun discussing books with Amy! She has recommended so many amazing books to read after learning which authors and styles I’m most attracted to! I am excited to learn more about creating stories along the same lines/formulas as some of my favorite authors.
Bozeman, MT, USA
Amy’s enthusiasm for Latin is wildly contagious! She explains difficult concepts in a way that’s understandable.
Homeschool Student, 9th Grade
Lafayette Hill, PA, USA
Amy is knowledgable, nurturing, quite funny and a joy to work with. She is creative and her love of language is contagious. Using the text as a springboard, she often offers several ways in which a thought could be conveyed in Latin, which has enriched my comprehension and expression. Also, Amy breathes life into the texts we translate by providing interesting historical context. As I continue through the Carmenta course sequence, I hope to have the luck to study under Amy again.
Pasadena, CA, USA
Hello, my name is Pablo de la Dolorosa. I wish to state that I feel very happy to form part of Carmenta, and to have a great charming teacher by the name of Amy. She goes the extra mile to make sure that the student has understood everything, and this creates an excellent atmosphere for learning because I am more at ease due to her teaching skills.
Bayside, NY, USA
Amy not only shows enthusiasm for Latin, but also a love of teaching and students. When learning the difficult, yet necessary, aspects of Latin grammar in Latin 2B, we are introduced to original Latin texts and are able to translate them with confidence. Magistra Amy gives background information to the author of the specific text, making it even more clear. She makes the learning go smoother, and completely understanding Latin is a reachable goal.
St. Louis, MO, USA
Amy’s knowledge of the authors and classical literature is a big help to me, because I have had no formal background in ancient literature. She also uses that insight to give more background to the vocabulary that I am learning in Wheelock. She is flexible and easy to work with.
Houston TX, USA
I love how every class builds our Latin skills and also has the Roman history of words intertwined with our work! Latin explanations are always helpful and encouraging when tackling difficult language challenges.
Pleasanton, CA, USA
I love how Amy can tell us interesting facts about Roman culture during our lesson.
Pleasanton, CA, USA
My teacher, Amy, is very helpful and flexible. She knows a lot about Latin and is great at teaching.
Dallas, TX, USA
I learned a lot of Latin. She is a nice teacher. She makes the classes fun.
Rose Bud, AR, USA
Amy is the best teacher I have ever had. The coolest thing about this class has been learning about Latin customs. She is pretty funny. That’s a good quality in a teacher.
Rose Bud, AR, USA
Amy consistently provides provocative, thoughtful, and fun education for my daughter in their English Literature class! An endless source of fine classic literature with an ability to create excitement through matching a child with literature which will inspire, Amy is a gem!
Bozeman, MT, USA
The boys love Ms. Amy’s Latin Junior classes. The boys tell us she is a great teacher. She is always friendly, prepared, and engaging. The boys are excited to spend the hour with their Carmenta class visiting and learning Latin. Their father recently completed a Paramedic class. The boys understood many of the medical terms from their Latin roots, so we know they are learning and putting that Latin knowledge to work!
Heber Springs, AR, USA
She is a patient, caring, intelligent, enthusiastic, and engaging teacher. We have received a large quantity of positive feedback on her from students and parents. She has taught our Latin Junior class for several semesters and requests have been submitted by a number of parents that she continue to teach the class. The guardian of one of her tutoring students recently wrote to me, saying "Amy is extraordinary. Amy has made [her] fall in love with Latin." Amy has that rare talent of being able to teach students very effectively AND being very likeable.
Eastern (North America)
Preferred Method of Contact With Students
Via phone, Skype, or email
Blog Articles by Amy V., Ph.D.
- Notes From The Den of Antiquity 3: Writing a School Song (02/19/2016)
- Notes from the Den of Antiquity (II) Behind the Scenes: Preparing a Field-Study Excavation (10/27/2015)
- Saturnalia: Romans’ Favorite Holiday in December (12/23/2014)
- Notes from the Den of Antiquity (I): Roman Bathrooms and Toilets (10/31/2014)