If you google 'Classics', it is defined as the study of the languages, literature, material culture, and history of the societies of the ancient world, together with their influence on later periods and cultures right up to the present day.

This might sound dry to some, but not to anyone who has met our Subject Expert Teacher, Mr. Dome. We sat down with him to discuss his love of the Classics, passion for teaching, and very popular Latin-speaking podcast.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I really wanted to help create intelligent minds and connect with children as the thought leaders of our future. When you study history, the importance of education is evident. If you go all the way back to the Greeks, education was the birth of civilization and the proliferation of ideas. Today, I hope to instill a reverence for education in the next generation.

I’m passionate about making sure we have students who grow up to be successful, innovate and bring positive change to not only our country but our civilization as well. I have always loved working with kids because of the direct impact you can have on them as an educator. Before joining the classroom, I did more research-based activities and published articles, but missed the human connection and real-life application of my knowledge. 

As a teacher, what attracted you to BASIS Independent Manhattan?

This year, I’m teaching history (grade 4) and Latin & Classics (grade 5). I really love the two-teacher model at BASIS Curriculum Schools because I can fully take advantage of my instructional time. I'm able to investigate my subject and advance my craft knowing that another teacher is in the room advocating for the students’ social-emotional needs. The advanced curriculum and rigor within the school also allow me to take the students on a deeper dive exploring the content. 

What I learned in 4th and 5th grade history was more of a footnote and a passing touch on main figures in history. Here, we reach a level that even high school kids usually don’t delve into! U.S. History is the main focus for most schools, so for us to have 4-7th graders learning world history gives them a multicultural outlook and an appreciation for more than just the history of our own country.

4th_history (4)What is the best part about teaching grades 4 and 5?

I’ve taught 10th grade in the past. To me, the best part about teaching younger students is their willingness and eagerness to learn and absorb. If you’re passionate as a teacher, kids catch on and they become passionate as well. Fourth and 5h graders are starting to be more altruistic and think less about themselves. They ask questions not only about what makes them happy, but what makes their family members and classmates happy. The focus on the group versus the individual starts to evolve at this age. Learning about history helps students understand the collaborative work mentality and that the world is much bigger than the small circle of people they grew up with.

What concept do you enjoy teaching the most?

I love teaching Greek history. I spent my undergrad and graduate years learning about the culture and how to read Ancient Greek. This ignited my interest to explore more, so I started diving into Greek politics and philosophy. I was originally a psychology major but realized that I was less concerned about quantifiable data and more interested in general patterns throughout history and people's belief systems. I took a philosophy class about major schools of thought and realized the advantage of taking a macro approach.

5th_latin (5)What do you love doing outside of the classroom?

I love to hike and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In fact, I go every weekend with a colleague. We pick a section of the museum and learn as much as we can that day. We’ll take books out from the library on Rembrandt, as an example, and absorb as much as possible on that subject and have a nice discussion afterward about what we learned.

Speaking of which, we’ve heard about your Latin podcast. Can you tell us more about it?

I run a podcast with a fellow teacher in Tennessee, Alessio Schiano, and we only speak Latin during the entirety of each show. We discuss different subjects ranging from music to art and pick a new topic every time. Despite what most people think, Latin never stopped being a spoken language. It’s just that more and more people view it for its influence on other languages rather than a language in itself. Very few people are interested in Latin just for the sake of learning it. The spoken Latin community is estimated to be about 30,000 people and is more popular in both Italy and the United States. Alessio and I are well known in the Latin-speaking community, and our podcast has taken off.

In our November podcast, I interview my co-host and another guest (Luke) about living in a new country, and we discuss the social differences as well as what it is like to move. When you listen to our podcast, you'll learn that Alessio and I go by Latin names during our show. He is Alexius Cosanus, and -- since there is no good equivalent for Garrett in Latin, I chose a funny name and go by Birronius.

Mr. Dome - Thank you for speaking with us and for all that you do in the classroom! We are so lucky that you have joined our community. 

The Admissions Team is looking forward to connecting with you! If you have any questions, please contact them by e-mail, or speak with an admissions representative at 347-305-4960.

BASIS Independent Manhattan is a PreK-12 private school based in Manhattan, New York, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Considering joining the BASIS Independent Manhattan community? Join our interest list by clicking here to receive admissions updates for Fall 2022.