Ellen Driscoll wants students to love language


Lance Leys

Driscoll has been teaching Latin for the past nine years at public schools in Pennsylvania, Queens and Westchester. Masters marks her decade of teaching, at her first private independt school. Driscoll still keeps in touch with her students from previous schools and believes that there is always an aspect of Latin that students fall in love with.

Lilith Leys, Contributing Writer

Ellen Driscoll is a teacher who, in her words, has “truly seen it all”. Teaching Latin to students of all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds, which has lent her a very diverse view of the academic world, having had experiences which have allowed her to become the teacher and parent she is today.

Driscoll joined Masters this year as a Latin teacher, with almost a decade under her belt. She dedicates her heart and soul to her teaching, and still keeps in touch with her students from her first year of teaching, she said. “It is truly wonderful to see them all grow up and get into relationships and work towards their dream jobs,” she said of her first class of high schoolers, who are now in their mid-to-late twenties.

Another inspiration for Driscoll is how encompassing Latin is as a language. “There’s always something that a student will love about Latin, even if it takes a while for them to find it,” she said. She finds that Latin can be found everywhere in the modern world, from math’s founding principles to the sometimes nonsensical eccentricities of English that borrow several prefixes from the language.

All of her previous jobs as a teacher have been at public school. She taught in Pennsylvania for four years, in Queens for three years, and in Westchester, adding up to a total of nine years of teaching experience with Latin.

Compared to her experiences at public school, she says that the encouraged teaching methods, including Harkness, clinic time and X-Band, have led to a much more involved teaching experience that allows her to grow closer to the students she teaches.

She is currently the parent of two children, a 4 year old and a 6 year old. She spends her time with them reading often. “We read a lot, at the library, at home, sometimes at both in the same day!” She said. Having children has changed her perspective on teaching as well.

She explained that “When I teach, I see the students as the children of adults instead of just as students.” This is something that allows her to push herself even further, since she feels even more obligated to do right by the parents and their children.

Her students say that the care she pours into her teaching shows through in class. Carolyn Hohl, a student in her Latin seminars, said “She is a truly enthusiastic teacher, and wants everyone to do well.” She assigns each of her students Latin names to immerse them fully in her teaching experience.

Her coworkers have good things to say about her as well. Mandarin Teacher Mae Jan said “She’s always smiling, and always kind to her students as well.” “We always eat breakfast together, and talk about our classes and she listens to what I have to say.”