I am a school teacher in a Laotian school, who has been granted permission to teach Classics once a week (Fridays) for two hours. Although the main thrust is on Latin, last Friday's lesson was on the Greek alphabet.
Last year I had several students who I taught Classical Greek during the lunch hour. Some of them learned the basic paradigms for substantives and verbs. They learned basic Greek phrases (Modern Greek) as well.
This site is truly wonderful, since our resources are meager, e.g. my own collection which I copy and share with eager Laotian students.
What are particular popular among the students are the lessons on Greek mythology. We also read short segments in English from Homer (e.g. ”Cave of the Cyclops").
It crossed my mind if, perhaps, you were a Greek living in Laos. I am surprised that you are so familiar even with katharevousa!
Think of the difficulties in teaching Greek, as an advantage, not the opposite. ‘Normally’ a classroom undermines this kind of learning, because personal relationship and affection are absent. If friendship is the most precious teaching of hellenism, if friendship is hellenism, to teach about Greece needs being actually a friend, especially at the hours of teaching. If this quality is present, that is, if the teacher knows and loves his children personally and wholeheartedly, then he teaches Greece, otherwise they acquire just information without real value. This is my wish for your lessons, and maybe is helped by the necessity to teach Greek only a few hours.
For mythology, it would help to let them know how it helps us understand our life, and first of all, the most obvious which, for this reason, we tend to ignore!, that Gods in ancient Greece may be particularly beatiful but they still have the human form, in contrast with Gods of other traditions, who have monstrous look, many hands, many or deformed or frightening heads, etc. They are like us, they are us in an ideal condition to which we, perhaps, can arrive. And they appear to men, they are not invisible and strangers, they can be visible to pius men (not to everyone). There is here a continuity between ancient Greece and Christianity, where Christ reveals Himself to those who believe in Him and love Him. Then you can find specific tales that would help them understand their lives, as is the story of Polyphemus in Odyssey, where human mind defeats even an enormous (yet beastly and cruel) power.
Thank you for your kind and supportive post! Yes, I agree with your philosophy of teaching children through love and respect. I have tried to inculcate an appreciation of Laotian culture while teaching them the best of Western culture, which lies in Greece, Rome, and gems from modern texts. This is always balanced with a substantive reading list from Asian classics, e.g. Dhammapada, Tao Te Ching, etc.
My modus operandi is to teach the equality of the human mind and the potential of the human spirit. Hence I impart in a balanced manner the great texts of the world, of which many are centered in Hellenic thought.
The fear I have as an educator is that the West has abandoned itself in its thrive of secular culture and in the process has lost its perimeters. Right and wrong, goodness and evil, cannot be viewed as relative, but do remain constant. Ethics, which ultimately teach the necessity of allowing the other without embracing his philosophy, is summed up the universal law of reciprocity (‘Golden Rule’ or ‘karma’ depending on the children’s cultural background). The Greek myths, its literature, Greece as a universal concept are important not only for the Laotian children, but for me as a non-Greek.
One of the catastraphies which the West allowed was the fall of Byzantium not only symbolically, but spiritually. This is not a carte blanche for the many wrongs existing with the intrigues of court of the Byzantine emperors. Yet the abandonment of Byzantium is chilling in its ramification as a zeitgeist for the 21st century, when the West is willing to let go, overlook, or show its antipathy towards itself and its cultural and spiritual antecedents. WE WERE BYZANTIUM and its collapse symbolically will replay as history invariably repeats itself. What does this have to do with teaching? Everything! By the teaching the noble values of Laotian culture, Buddhism, Greece, and Rome, the student opens his / her mind to potentiality of greatness. The individual however poor materially can be ‘royalty’ of the mind and the spirit. Is this not what the Greek philosophers taught, the poets sung, the Apostles proclaimed, and heroes (ancient and modern) fought for?
Again thank you for your post and the tenderness its shows.
I'm just starting this very fascinating journey into the Greek world. I'm like a kid looking at a thousand pieces of candy and I can only have one. I'm taking Greek New Testament class. While I was learning the Greek letters I was wondering how my name, my wife's and grandson's names would be spelled and pronounced. In Biblical Greek and Modern Greek. Carl ........ Καρλ Judy ....... δυ Joe .......... Ιωε Thomas .. Θωμασ Is this right or wrong? Do you know of any web sites deal with this?