2020 Eunice E. Kraft Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching:
Robert Patrick (Parkview High School, GA)
Robert Patrick earned his B.A. in Biblical Literature at Oral Roberts University and his M.Div in Theology from Emory University. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin and Classical Studies from the University of Florida. Since 2005 he has taught Latin at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia, and he currently serves as the chair of the foreign languages department. Under his leadership, Latin teaching has expanded throughout not only Parkview High School, but through his district more broadly. The program Dr. Patrick developed has become the largest Latin program in Georgia, and recently one of the middle schools that feeds into Parkview High School added Latin as an offering. Notably, Dr. Patrick is particularly devoted to the success of every student, and as a result his Latin program has a significant number of students with disabilities enrolled, who succeed in Latin more than any other language. Furthermore, Dr. Patrick has long endeavored to strengthen and improve Latin pedagogy beyond the walls of his own school system. He has published articles on pedagogy, and offers workshops for teachers both at both local and national conferences, with a particular focus on Comprehensible Input. He has even founded a Facebook page called “Latin Best Practices” which includes over a thousand participating Latin teachers.
Colleagues of Dr. Patrick comment on his exemplary abilities as a teacher generally, but particularly note his focus on forming connections and relationships with his students and fellow teachers: “He’s an excellent teacher who connects with his students and cares deeply about his content area. Watching Dr. Patrick interact with students is something quite amazing to observe, and I believe that it’s from this love of teaching and love of Latin that his many other accomplishments flow.” Another colleague commends, “Dr. Patrick is a role model for teachers at Parkview and impacts teachers in Georgia and across the nation ... [He] is a SUPERSTAR!”
In his own words, Dr. Patrick describes his teaching as grounded in three core elements of curiosity, compassion, and courage. These elements compel him to examine himself as a teacher and his students, to “rethink what it means to have ‘standards’ if [they] interfere with learning”, and to ask difficult questions about his own teaching practices. In the words of his students, what stands out about Dr. Patrick above all else is not only his investment in the improvement of their Latin skills, but for his investment in them as human beings. In the words of one student, “Although he taught Latin classes, each lesson Dr. Patrick gave was a lesson on something much bigger than any student have anticipated: lessons on life. In each lesson, whether it was learning about Aesop’s fables or the Mostellaria, I learned about how to improve myself. He challenged us to think about our values, Roman society’s values, and how we choose to interact with the world around us.” Another student comments on Dr. Patrick’s dedication to every single student: “The most radical aspect of Dr. Patrick’s teaching was that he really, truly believed in and every one of us. His greatest gift to us was his high expectations.” Everyone knows, in the words of a third student, that Dr. Patrick “genuinely cares about all of his students, their individual needs, experiences, and hardships.”
For his tireless work to promote and improve Latin pedagogy in his community and beyond, for his dedication to his craft and to his students, and for the innumerable people who have benefited from his thoughtful, uplifting, and compassionate teaching, CAMWS is honored to award Robert Patrick the 2020 Eunice E. Kraft Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching.