Carmenta Tutor Profile: Todd C.
Todd C., Ph.D.
Carmenta Tutor rates range from $75/hr. to $220/hr. If you are interested in hiring one of our tutors, please Email or call us at (212) 203-8734.
- English Literature (in particular English verse poetry, especially Milton, Shakespeare, the Romantics and pre-Romantics, and Early American poetry like Robert Frost, Edwin Arlington Robinson)
Todd has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Classics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Ph.D. in Classics and Indo-European Linguistics from Cornell University.
Years Worked As Teacher/Tutor
All ages (but esp. high-school age and over)
Todd has held professorships at the University of Richmond, in Virginia, and at Concordia University, Montréal. He is currently teaching at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His primary publishing interests lie in the areas of Greek, Latin, and historical syntax and phonology, but he also publishes more broadly in classics, literature, and art history.
Todd has taught a plethora of courses ranging from Introductory Latin and Greek to advanced seminars in Homeric Philology and Latin Comparative Grammar. At the University of Richmond he taught two sections of first-year Latin, Greek, and Roman Myth and Drama, and a course on classical word roots in English. At Concordia he taught Intermediate Greek, Introductory Sanskrit, Indo-European Linguistics, Archaic Latin and the Italic dialects, and Language Change, a unique course examining how and why every language changes (significantly) over time. At Cornell he is now teaching all levels of Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin literature and language courses. Todd has also contributed to the Bard College Prison Initiative Program, teaching a class on Homer’s Iliad, and several English grammar and composition classes.
Todd has always been an avid sportsman and outdoorsman. He grew up in Southern California and spent his youth surfing Newport and Huntington Beaches. He even travelled to the Philippines and Japan on a surfing and cultural exchange trip after his high school surf team won the California State Championship. Later, he fell in love with rock climbing—he has made two multi-day ascents of El Capitan in Yosemite, sleeping thousands of feet off the ground in a hammock. After relocating to the Northeast, Todd has continued to climb and hike in the beautiful Adirondack mountains with his wife and two sons.
- I have lived a varied life and think of myself as both a scholar and outdoorsman/athlete. I started surfing avidly while growing up in Newport and Huntington Beach and in high school was selected as one of 15 surfers in California to travel to the Philippines and Japan on a surfing and cultural exchange trip. In the Philippines we travelled to a small, remote town, stayed for a week with local families and taught kids who had never even seen a surfboard how to surf. In Japan we also stayed with local families, visited surf shops and got to know Japanese surfers. As an undergraduate in Santa Barbara, California, I switched from surfing to rock climbing and in the early 1990’s climbed both Half Dome and El Capitan in Yosemite, spending multiple days and nights up on the wall (or more like hanging from it) and sleeping in a collapsible hammock know as a portaledge. Ascents of these big walls are but the highlight of ten years spent rock climbing at a high level throughout California, especially in the High Sierras. I also took up mixed rock and ice climbing and did winter ascents of Mt. Sill, Mt. Whitney, and several other High Sierra peaks. I have now relocated to New York State and, although I am doing a lot less rock climbing, I still am an avid hiker and, along with my wife and two sons (now 7 and 10), am over halfway on the way to becoming an Adirondack 46er, having summited 25 of the 46 peaks.
- When not surfing, rock climbing or hiking, I can most often be found in the library studying and researching ancient languages. That being said, my initial desire to study Greek and Latin was born from a love of English poetry. It drove me crazy to read the English classics like Milton and Donne and not be able to read their models in the original like they did. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I majored in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis. The Creative Writing Emphasis gave me the opportunity to write poetry of my own, some of which has been published, albeit in obscure journals.
- After receiving my Bachelor of Arts in English from UCSB, summa cum laude, I determined at that point to pursue a graduate degree in Classics. I had taken Greek for my language requirement as an undergraduate and, while working in an outdoor store, caught up on my Latin by taking classes through UCSB Extension. Next, I was accepted into the Master’s Program in Classics at UCSB and received my Masters a few years later. During my last year at UCSB I was accepted to the PhD program in Classics at Cornell University and moved to Ithaca in the fall of 2002. I excelled in my studies at Cornell and expanded my studies into Sanskrit and Indo-European Linguistics.
- In 2007-2009 I earned my PhD by writing a dissertation entitled Rhetoric and Repetition: The Figura Etymologica in Homeric Epic. The dissertation examined Homeric usage of the most basic and redundant figura etymologica, defined as same-clause repetition of semantically equivalent noun and verb from the same word root. Analogous constructions in Present-Day English include ‘sing a song’, ‘live a life’ or ‘give a gift’. What originally sparked my curiosity about the frequency of these figures in Homer is that the most comfortable venue for similar constructions in contemporary culture is children’s literature. For this reason, perhaps, scholars have been harshly critical, labeling both Homer and his audiences unsophisticated precisely because they revelled in the figures. In fact, once some fundamental distinctions among figurae etymologicae are coordinated with overall distributions in the Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiodic corpus and Homeric Hymns, a very subtle and sophisticated principle of selection, based on an acute awareness of the constructions’ prolixity, emerges. Observation of this selection process helps to differentiate levels of focalization and narrative attitude within the Homeric poems and creates a new basis for assessing Epic verbal art. Hence, the thesis is, in some sense, a defense of archaic Epic. It also has ramifications for other Greek authors, like Herodotus and Plato, who made extensive use of the same phrasal circularities. I have been invited to publish my dissertation with Brill as a Mnemosyne supplement, and am currently preparing it for submission. In addition, I published a book chapter in 2013 on the topic of case selection of cognate complements in Greek with Beech Stave Press, and an article discussing my analysis of analogous constructions in Latin has just come out in the latest issue of Glotta.
- Since graduating from Cornell I have held several academic positions and have taught a great variety of university courses. In the 2010-11 school year I taught first-year Latin, mythology, ancient drama, and etymology at the University of Richmond. From 2011-2012 I taught a plethora of courses in Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics, Sanskrit, and Indo-European Studies at Concordia University in Montréal. At present, I am back at Cornell teaching first-year Greek, Latin, and intermediate Sanskrit.
- Also, in the final year of my writing my dissertation and the year immediately following I worked as the Director of the Classical Archaeology Visual Resources Project at Cornell. During this time I attached data to thousands of images of ancient objects, from Greek vases depicting mythical motifs to ancient toilets, and learned a lot about the physical remains of antiquity. I incorporate this experience into my teaching whenever possible.
My Experience With Carmenta
I have been tutoring at Carmenta Tutors for a year now and have nothing but great things to say about both Carmenta and the students. Now, first of all, let it be known that I am not a fan of distance learning taking over the physical classroom, and I am no proponent of the MOOC. The fact of the matter, however, is that fewer and fewer US schools are offering Latin, much less Greek and Sanskrit; but there are many students and parents who still recognize the benefit of studying ancient languages and are still interested in doing so. I think that the Carmenta method gives these students and parents an opportunity to study language in a way that is second only to a physical classroom.
I have taught Latin, Greek and Sanskrit at several universities and must say that the caliber of student at Carmenta is very high even when compared to internationally recognized universities. Carmenta students are extremely motivated, focused and talented. They also seem to work extremely hard. Language classes by necessity require more work out of class than in class, and I have always gotten the sense that my students at Carmenta work very diligently to succeed....We use the most widely accepted, tried-and-true textbooks for each language and spend enough time on each chapter to make sure students grasp everything, and memorize everything as we proceed.
Carmenta tutoring is as different from asynchronous Internet courses as physical classrooms with live teachers are different from textbooks. In an asynchronous course the student receives no immediate live instruction, they have no direct communication with an expert. The Carmenta School remedies this situation by offering live Skype-based education. As a parent, I would enroll my child in Carmenta without hesitation, while I would only enroll them in an asynchronous distance course if it was the absolute only option.
I am thrilled to be working with Todd in improving my skills in Greek and Latin. While I have an advanced degree in these languages, it has been a number of years since I was in school and I am finding the work I’m doing with Todd to be immensely rewarding both in terms of refreshing my memory and filling in the gaps in those areas in which my Greek and Latin skills are weaker.
Todd is an exceptional teacher in every respect. Our tutoring sessions are both demanding and immensely enjoyable, and he teaches with great humor as well as great insight into the subjects at hand, whether they are literary or grammatical.
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
I took intermediate-level Latin classes with Todd. Todd’s passion for Latin was evident almost immediately, as was his mastery of the language and his strong instructional abilities. He explained complex syntactical and grammatical nuances with ease and taught at a pace that allowed us to maximize our time together while always ensuring we understood the material before moving on. Todd’s classes were particularly engaging, as he would often punctuate more mechanical lessons with historical anecdotes or fascinating etymologies...
Todd’s patience was something that I deeply appreciated. With Latin’s many verb forms and noun declensions, keeping track of the logic behind each conjugation can be a difficult task. Whenever I would draw a blank and have a hard time grasping a concept I’d already learned, Todd would patiently revisit the conjugation rules until everything clicked for me. I would highly recommend him to any prospective student.
Waltham, MA, USA
Todd is a fantastic instructor whose love of the subject is clearly very strong. He is very knowledgable and is eager to share this knowledge, making the subject even more interesting and relevant. I appreciate the challenge of Greek and found learning from Todd a pleasure.
Mt Pleasant, SC, USA
The class I'm taking has allowed me to start learning Latin—a longtime goal and desire of mine. Not only am I taking the course, but I am actually LEARNING from the course, and thoroughly enjoying it...every class session.
Hands down, my instructor [Todd] is great. He’s a world-class scholar with Ivy League credentials, but he’s very approachable, engaging, and a very good facilitator of learning. I truly enjoy every class session…because he keeps us on task, but also manages to provide us context and great information to help us better understand the things we are learning in the current lessons. He has helped provide extra context to the readings and grammar; he has helped the students better grasp what they are reading, why the Romans structured grammar the way they did, and also how to best think about ways to relate it to our modern English language (and other Western languages).
My favorite part is the Skype classroom interactions. I truly enjoy engaging with the professor and my fellow students in an digital real-time environment where all of us can see each other, discuss, and engage. It really makes this a great program...much better than asychronous learning environments using posting boards and forums.
Todd has been an excellent Latin 1A instructor. He brings a great enthusiasm to every class and provides a very engaging, enjoyable learning environment via the Skype classroom for all the students. He makes learning Latin a great experience by providing additional context to the exercises, grammar, and readings. He helps students understand why the Romans wrote and expressed themselves the way they did, and provides great comparisons to today’s modern languages, as well as how English has carried on many of the ancient Roman grammar and written forms. I would highly recommend Todd as an instructor, or a tutor (although I have not engaged his services on this level...I am sure he is an excellent tutor, just as he is a professor).
Program Support Consultant
Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA
Each class gives me more and more confidence in my understanding of Latin and the rules of the language. The multi-dimensional ways that we approach the language makes it easier to learn, especially the emphasis on speaking that really helps me to comprehend more than if it were merely translation based learning. Magister Todd has been an excellent professor. He is thorough and knows the ins and outs of Latin and has really helped me to understand the flexibility of Latin and how to watch for that in speaking and translating.
My favorite aspect of class is translating and parsing the different words and phrases, sometimes changing their number and being ready on the fly to do this. It helps us to memorize what needs memorizing and to be prepared for each class. Magister Todd is thorough and knows the ins and outs of Latin and has really helped me to understand the flexibility of Latin and how to watch for that in speaking and translating.
Parsons, KS, USA
Magister Todd is very knowledgeable and makes sure we understand the concepts presented in each class. He is also meticulous about going over our homework to further that understanding. I like that he presents the information in a straight-forward manner but has a great sense of humor as well.
Midlothian, VA, USA
A friendly and effective teacher. Students have commented on how much they love the philological anecdotes and perspectives that he integrates into class. He possesses an extremly impressive knowledge of Indo-European Linguistics, and he is one of only two Sanskrit instructors working with us.
Eastern (North America)
Preferred Method of Contact With Students
Blog Articles by Todd C., Ph.D.
- An Oscar Wilde Anecdote and Approaches to Reading Biblical Greek (04/17/2015)
- Much ado about nothing: Floccinaucinihilipilification (02/24/2015)
- Super Serpents, Hyper Herpetologists and the Origins of Greek Aitch (02/17/2015)
- Classical Latin’s Complicated Relationship with Aitch (09/30/2014)
- The Garigliano Bowl and Paradigm of Latin Sum ‘I am’ (09/09/2014)
- Attributive vs. Predicate Adjectives and the Ancient Greek Definite Article (06/19/2014)
- The Greek Definite Article and the English Definite Article Compared (05/22/2014)