Athanasia Worley never meant to be a Latin teacher. She had an interest in Latin and at her high school, if you wanted to go to college, you were placed into a Latin class. Going into her third year of Latin, Worley’s class numbers dropped dramatically. But she, along with only 25 others, stuck through four years of Latin, falling in love with it.
“Many [Latin students] escape with their dignity after two years,” Worley said. “But [there were] those of us who really liked it– there were 25 people in my fourth year Latin class.”
As a young girl, Worley heard stories about the ancient world that her mother learned in Virgil class, an AP Latin course. The stories intrigued her. If she was good enough, her mother said, she would get to take Virgil in high school and learn these stories herself.
After her first year of high school Latin, Worley wanted more. She constantly felt compelled to learn about the Latin and Greek world.
“I was interested in what people in the ancient world had to say,” Worley said. “I wanted to hear it in their own language.”
However, Worley never planned on teaching it. She loved the language, but that was the extent of her intention– to learn and love it. The teaching job was something she kind of stumbled upon.
Worley was looking for work close to family. With family in St. Louis, including her only grandchild, she felt an obligation to be in that granddaughter’s life for as long as possible.
A job for a Latin teacher at East was unoccupied on the Internet for months. Worley figured that she knew enough about Latin to teach and it was close enough to St. Louis, so she took it.
“I figured ‘why don’t I apply?’” Worley said. “In other words, it was the closest I could get to family.”
Worley was originally assigned a fill-in job with five different classes. This meant five different sets of material and five different things you have to keep up and going. The job at East meant teaching Latin I, II, III and IV along with honors, AP and IB Latin courses.
“It was an enormous amount of work,” Worley said. “Five classes, BOOM- out of the gate. But I just happened to accidentally fall in love with teaching.”