Sunday, January 29, 2012
Grading Marathons and Latin Bloopers
I'm always very frazzled during the last week of each quarter and the first week of the next. There are final exams to administer and then grade, and there are always other large grading projects, as well as prep for the next quarter. And grades are due Wednesday. I finally have all three sets of finals graded. Still to do are the Panis Angelicus for 7th grade and the Isaiah 40 Vulgate passage for 8th grade, and 8th grade mythology pages on Venus.
I occasionally run across unintentionally humorous answers on my final exams. For example:
More than one young person has rendered "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" as "It is sweet and filling to die for ones country."
Long ago I was floored by the young lady who gave her translation of the all-purpose Latin greeting "Quid agis?" as "What do you drive?" Because we teach ago, agere - do, drive, act, treat, it's fairly easy to see how she got there, but somehow the image of ancient Romans inquiring as to someone's favorite mode of transportation has always struck me as funny.
I give my 8th graders the challenge: Ille certissime malam fortuam fert qui nullos amicos habet. Nam Cicero, "Sine amicitia," inquit, "vita est nulla." Which my own son Secundus last year gave as, "That fortune is bad and has no friends. Cicero was without friends. Therefore he had no life."
And then there are the matching sections I throw in at the ends of my exams on Roman history, culture, and mythology. They are matching sections... so I am always surprised when it's not as obvious and logical for the students as it is for me. To read the exams, you would think that:
A.K.A. Dis, Hades, or Orcus = Apollo
Son of Apollo, god of the healing arts = Pluto or Venus
A.K.A. Pallas, Athena = Venus (she got around)
A.K.A. Aphrodite = Aesculapius
Separated from Thisbe by a wall = Cerberus
distaff = used to make wedding cake (I'm thinking as a stirring spoon?)
spelt = a woman's shawl