Kellie Mason has earned a long list of awards and accomplishments in the past seven years of teaching Latin at Woodstock High School. She began her teaching career as a long-term Latin substitute teacher. Ms. Mason was hired full-time the next year and later became the school’s World Languages Department Chair, where she still serves for the third year.
While in college, Ms. Mason’s original plan was to go to law school. As a pre-law student, she fell in love with Latin and realized there was a huge shortage of Latin teachers. Rumor has it that some students at Woodstock have been known to take Latin just because of Ms. Mason’s great reputation.
In May 2017, Ms. Mason was honored with the DELTA KAPPA GAMMA Golden Apple Award. This is a huge honor, as she was chosen by her colleagues for her outstanding contributions to education.
Last year, Ms. Mason began taking international trips with students. They have been to Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome! She has trips planned every year for the next four years!
For the 2016-2017 school year, one of her students was elected to serve as president of the Georgia state Latin organization for all Georgia students.
Questions for Ms. Mason…
Why did you choose Metro RESA’s GaTAPP?
Going through the GaTAPP program was the fastest way to get my teaching certificate, and speed was important at that time. Going the traditional route through a college program would have taken longer than the school required. A lot of the strategies I learned through Metro RESA’s GaTAPP were very helpful. I went through N. GA RESA last year and got my gifted endorsement!
What are some of your favorite teaching moments?
One of the joys of being the only Latin teacher in the school is that I have students in my class year after year. I get to learn their strengths and weaknesses and see them grow and improve. As an example, one of my students in Latin 2 really struggled with Latin 1. He came in for tutoring 2-3 times a week and worked his butt off to pull his grade up from failing to a B. When he came in the next year, he started tutoring right away. He is now making 96 and 97s and loves Latin.
Another joy is watching students who initially think that they can’t do it. They think Latin is too hard; but, we finally figure out what works for them, and that is very rewarding.
What advice would you give to new teachers?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are going to mess up. You are not going to do it the right way. You’ll never have enough time, and you’ll always want to do it better. Be okay with making mistakes!
What is your favorite technology?
Quizlet Live! As a foreign language teacher, I’ve used Quizlet for years. It makes games for you, and it makes it so easy. The latest thing they came out with is a collaborative review game using the quizlet flashcards that you have made. Quizlet Live forces kids to work together in groups to collaborate to get the answers.
Thank you, Ms. Mason, for being the spark! We appreciate your many contributions to your students, their families, your school, Latin education, and to your fellow educators!