Teacher of the Week: Eleni Sofronis

Teacher of the Week: Eleni Sofronis

Meet ELENI SOFRONIS, a veteran Latin teacher at St. Thomas More who moved to the United States from Greece in 1990. She's been teaching at the Champaign high school since opening day in 2000, but will retire at the end of this academic year. Here's more:

The challenging thing about teaching Latin is ... it takes students some time to see the value of the language. From my experience, I have many students who have come back after graduating who say they've used the Latin language. Teaching them is a big challenge, but it's a good one.

The funniest question a student has ever asked is ... what language people speak in Greece. One of them asked me if we have cars or donkeys in Greece. Something I love is that they ask me if I dream in English or Greek. I don't even remember. I think I dream in Greek.

My favorite thing about teaching is ... I love to promote knowledge. I love to help kids know more things. The more educated a person becomes, the more open-minded they can be. We can be a more peaceful society that way.

As far as a good book I've read recently ... I've read two books in English. One book I loved was "The Road to Character," by David Brooks. Another was "The Hidden Place," by Corrie Ten Boom.

My biggest classroom pet peeve is ... disrespect. When they are not kind. Sometimes I notice that in Europe, students are more respectful toward teachers — this isn't a bad thing against Americans. I want to be fair to them, but I don't want to be their best friend.

In retirement ... I may spend a bit more time in Greece. I have two boys — one works in Chicago and one is moving to Los Angeles. I may have more free time to help them.

The thing I'll miss most about being at St. Thomas More is ... the really safe environment. I am amazed at how freely we can express our faith and how supportive we are. We pray every morning and we end with prayer. This is something I am going to miss terribly. We are like a family here all together. It is our difference from other schools.

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