Aut viam inveniam aut faciam (I will find a way, or I will make one.)

~ Anibal ~

Learning Latin, along with French or German, was once mandatory in Australian high schools. These days, there is considerably more variety — Japanese, Chinese, Auslan, Italian ... — and, while they are still offered, the classical languages are a lot less common.

However, in recent years, Latin has been experiencing a comeback, and rightly so. Over half of our English vocabulary is derived from Latin, along with another 25% from Old French (that also came from Latin). Etymology is fascinating and gives us insights into all facets of our learning.

While there are many jobs that benefit from a knowledge of Latin, you may have your heart set on becoming a Latin teacher.

How do you do this? What qualifications are required?

This article will explore the requirements for teaching Latin, the options for studying it at a tertiary level and how to get a job as a private tutor.

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When and Where Can I Learn Latin?

The Australian Curriculum includes a 'Framework for Classical Languages', covering Latin and Classical Greek from the start of Year 7, through to Year 10.

What do you learn when you study Latin?
The classical languages may be 'dead' but their influence on how we speak and the words we use today is still very much alive | Source: Pixabay - PDPics

If the foreign languages curriculum at your high school and secondary college (Year 11 and Year 12) offers Latin, then you're set. Otherwise, you might need to search for other schools that do offer it, or for a private tutor who can follow the standard curriculum.

Either way, studying the language, its history and literature as much as you can throughout your compulsory schooling years, or even in primary school, is highly recommended if you want to get a job as a Latin teacher.

While not essential, it's a good idea to study Latin as part of your Year 12 package and ATAR. Doing this will give you a head start once you start your university degree.

However, don't worry if you don't have access to Latin classes while you're in high school — you can start learning in university and the lecturers are well aware that only a handful of schools have a Latin classroom program.

Tertiary-level Latin

Make sure you do your research when you're enrolling in your university program — especially if you're applying for early entry — as there are many options, not all obvious at first glance.

Latin is rarely offered as a degree in its own right. It's considered a 'dead' language, so is often not taught the same way that modern languages are approached — that is, it's less oral-based and more focused on reading, grammar and classical literature. Latin will almost always be combined with other languages or history or it may be available as a major in a bachelor of arts.

You should also give early consideration to whether you are intending to head down a teaching pathway, into academic research or anthropology, or even into medicine or science.

If you're determined to make teaching your career, you will also need to decide whether to enrol in an education degree first, with a major in Latin — or focus on Latin, then do your education component as a postgraduate program.

Degrees incorporating Latin

Once you start to search, you'll see that you have a huge number of options.

Really think about what you're interested in, and what your career goals are, then choose a program of study from courses including:

  • Ancient History
  • General and Applied Linguistics
  • Literature — Modern and Classics
  • Medieval Studies
  • Modern and Classical Languages
  • Philosophy

The Latin component of your chosen program of study should cover the language itself (including grammar), the history of the language and its modern use in other tongues and disciplines.

What Latin degrees are available in Australia?
Latin can be incorporated into a wide range of university degrees | Source: Pixabay - McElspeth

Postgraduate Degrees

If you already have an undergraduate degree, you might want to go on to postgraduate or master's studies to further your knowledge of Latin.

The options include:

  • a graduate coursework program
  • graduate certificate in arts
  • master of arts
  • doctor of philosophy.

All of these can be studied with a complete focus on Latin, or a focus on classical languages, Roman history, literature or ancient languages.

If you're interested in a more academic job, a master's degree is a great lead into a PhD and then work as a university lecturer, where you can divide your time between research and teaching.

Postgraduate teacher training courses are excellent for students who have completed a full degree in their subject specialty and now want the requisite qualifications to be able to gain a job working in the private or public school education system.

Of course, you may want to consider a teacher's work conditions, including out of hours workload and the average salary for a Latin teacher.

What Qualifications Do I Need Before I Can Start Teaching Latin?

To work as a teacher in a school, whether in the public or private system, or any level from primary through to high school and senior secondary college, you must have the equivalent of four years of teacher training at a university level.

This means either:

  • an undergraduate Bachelor of Education — a minimum of four years full-time, with at least one major (in this case, Latin)
  • an undergraduate degree in your area of specialisation (Latin) plus a postgraduate teaching degree of approximately two years.
What qualifications does a Latin teacher need?
Teachers and tutors need to be skilled in their subject as well as skilled at sharing their knowledge in a way that suits the learning style of their students | Source: Pixabay - plugrafico)

Bachelor of Education

Most teachers undertake the four year undergraduate Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) course to qualify as a teacher.

Completion of a B.Ed — or a postgraduate equivalent, such as the Master of Secondary Teaching or Foreign Language Teaching — is required to gain teacher registration. Without registration, you cannot legally teach students in preschool through to Year 12, in the public or private compulsory education system in Australia. (Note that the same is not applicable for tertiary and further training past compulsory schooling, or for tutoring services — although a B.Ed and registration is an advantage.)

Essentially, the B.Ed encompasses all facets of teaching, including pedagogy, subject-specific methodology, learning theory, practicums and child psychology. Students can specialise in early childhood, primary, middle schooling or secondary, although, once qualified, it is fairly easy to move between systems.

The equivalent postgraduate courses cover the same content as a B.Ed, but in a condensed format and are particularly useful for people who may be changing careers.

There are many opportunities for Latin and other teachers, you just need to ask your university or high school career advisors.

Working as a Private Latin Tutor

Perhaps you've had enough of being stuck in a classroom but you still really want to feel the joy gained by working with students to help progress their learning and share your love of everything Latin?

How do you become a private Latin tutor?
The formal classroom or lecture-style environment is not suited to everyone, but that doesn't mean you can't teach | Source: Pixabay -  Wokandapix

Smaller, independent training institutions and language academies, which are not mandated to follow the Australian Curriculum, don't legally require their teachers to possess formal qualifications. However, they will often ask if you have them and the employer will tend to prioritise applicants who do. In some cases, if you are able to prove your skill and experience as a teacher, and your ability with Latin, this may well override the need for the piece of paper showing the qualification.

Alternatively, you can always set yourself up as a private tutor.

This may be something you do part-time, or you may be able to carve a full-time career out of private tuition. There are a number of benefits to becoming a private tutor, such as:

  • flexibility — you set your times
  • location options — online, face-to-face
  • teach how and what you want to teach, as long as it aligns with the needs of your student.

As far as qualifications are concerned, some students might want to know about your experience or your level of Latin. If you have the certification to back up your claims, this is great — and, remember, that testimonials and word-of-mouth advertising will work wonders.

Make your lessons and tutoring program accessible, fun, motivational and productive and students will be lining up to work with you.

As a private Latin teacher, you also have a few options when it comes to how you want to work. You could:

  • remain completely independent (freelance)
  • work for a tutoring agency
  • list yourself on a tutoring platform, such as Superprof.

Freelance work means you are responsible for administration and must have an ABN.

A tutoring agency will look after administration for you, but often require evidence of qualifications and are less flexible when it comes to curriculum.

Superprof tutors are responsible for keeping their profiles up to date, and will still need an ABN, but they have the exposure to potential clients. (Remember, if you want to brush up your Latin, or get tips on methodology for teaching Latin, a Superprof tutor can help you as well.)

Whichever path you decide to pursue — formal qualifications and work in the public school system or forego the qualifications and see how you go as a private tutor — the point is that you are doing something you love and sharing this passion with others.

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Kellie

Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.