Learning Latin with the Colonel

Alston Hurd Chase, Time Remembered 2.1:

“Two of the senior members of the Latin Department won my deep respect and affection. One was Horace Poynter, a Kentuckian, nicknamed, not very originally, the Colonel. Of medium height, a little stooped, with a long face, an aquiline nose, light blue eyes, and a thatch of dark brown hair which hardly grayed at all, he was a man of contrasts of whom one might obtain two quite different portraits depending upon the speaker. To most boys in his classes he was what is known as a holy terror. A firm believer in the old doctrine that Latin is a prime agent of mental discipline, he established a reputation for giving only two grades –100 or, much more commonly, 0. A matchless Latinist he made all his first year students keep copious notes on every point of Latin grammar. When I first came to Andover I had almost as much to learn as my students for secondary teaching is very different from that in college. In college one presents the material and the students may take it or leave it; in secondary school one has to teach using carrot and stick as each case requires. (The Colonel was, I fear, partial to the stick.) Furthermore, I had been working so long with small attention to grammar, as one tends to do in advanced courses, that I was really weak on many fine points. Once or twice I had the temerity to disagree with some of his former students on a grammatical point. The formidable notebook was at once produced and I was forced to retreat in poor order.”

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