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Michael Anderson

“For teachers, and particularly here at Loomis, it’s lifelong learning. We’re always learning new things, we’re always interested in new ideas, … and facilitating that kind of ongoing learning is exciting. We’re interested in what works, how things work, and different tools students can use.”

Michael Anderson’s classroom on the second floor of Founders Hall overlooks the Farmington River. And like that body of water, he likes to keep things flowing. That’s this Latin teacher’s modus operandi.

“It’s different from the old-school university environment where professors lecture, but even at the university with language courses you had the benefit of the smaller group where there is a lot of interaction,” Michael said. “So, I really like to hear from the students, like to see them engaged and talking and practicing and working among themselves. I'm just not here to give you the answers and give you the test the next time.

“I also really enjoy having conversations where the whole class gets involved, shares ideas. And student presentations are wonderful where they share, and we get to ask them questions.”

Michael’s classroom has a blackboard, once a staple in every classroom in America but now just a throwback to yesteryear. Chalk that up to technology, an element a teacher must incorporate when it is beneficial.

“I love the online resources,” Michael said. “For all the painful things that happened during the pandemic, there were so many things online, and the teachers were creating some of their own.”

Yet with the new there always is room for a bit of the old.

“I hear from teachers that there is value to picking up pencil and paper, and especially with foreign language,” Michael said. “The way that makes you slow down and hear what you are saying in your head as you write it, just to take those few extra seconds, is so valuable.”

As the head of the Modern & Classical Languages Department, Michael enjoys the interaction with team members.

“For teachers, and particularly here at Loomis, it’s lifelong learning,” Michael said. “We're always learning new things, we’re always interested in new ideas, … and facilitating that kind of ongoing learning is exciting. We’re interested in what works, how things work, and different tools students can use.”

Michael might be remarkably familiar with the subject matter in his Latin classroom, but he knows there is room for surprise, which tends to lead to delight.

“We have so many students who enjoy learning, want to learn,” Michael said. “I might have done these things 10 times when I share with a class, and yet I am amazed at the reactions I will get or the additional contributions that students will make or connections to their own life. That is one of the wonderful things about teaching, getting to observe students as they approach this material for the first time.”

Michael’s journey to Windsor had a few stops along the way, among them New Jersey, Germany, England, Oregon, New York, New Haven, and Hartford. Carpe diem, indeed.

He is a graduate of Princeton University, was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany for a year, and received a doctorate at Oxford University. His first teaching job was at the University of Oregon, followed by a two-year post-doctorate at Columbia University, where he did research and taught literature. He taught at Yale for about 10 years in subjects ranging from Greek and Latin to theology and literature. His next stop was Trinity College, where he taught similar subjects. He came to Loomis in 2013.

“We have such wonderful people here and such a supportive environment,” Michael says. “It is interesting to hear what others are doing. When people go off to conferences, whether they are presenting or attending workshops, we love them to share with the department what they did, what they learned, what they enjoyed, and how they might incorporate that into teaching.”


 

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