Thursday, November 17, 2011

Royal Holloway Classics Day

A few months ago, the Principal of Royal Holloway came up with a wheeze for the Classics Department - amalgamate it with History and lose six of its posts. I was amazed. This was not some minor department with a few staff too busy concentrating on their own navels to produce decent work. This was one of the best-respected departments in the country. The department's success had been recognised in more benign days by the promotion of a number of its staff to chairs.

I was lucky enough to teach a few courses there for a year in 1998-99, and it was the best experience in my teaching life up to that point. At the end of the year one student listed me as one of the best teachers they'd had - I was tremendously honoured, because I knew how good the other staff were there, and to be so considered was extremely flattering.

The College management has since modified considerably their proposals (see But they still need to be reminded how vital the subject is. Tomorrow, there's a Classics day at the college. It kicks off at 10, and has lectures, quizzes, and a version of Aristophanes' Clouds. Unfortunately, I'm off to Germany, so I can't go. But I'll be thinking of my friends and former colleagues.