Mr. Dygo Tosa

Intro: Dygo Tosa taught for three years at a large public school in Texas before coming to Brookline High School to teach Latin.  He actually moved to Texas from Massachusetts to go to grad school where he got his masters at the University of Texas at Austin and soon after his teaching certificate.  He moved back to MA at the end of June and made his decision to teach at BHS in July, so his summer revolved around his big move and getting settled back in Massachusetts.     

How did you get into teaching, and specifically how did you get into Latin?

I got into teaching actually when I was in college.  My first summer of college I worked as a student adviser, which is basically you work freshman orientation at college, so at Boston University where I was at, I had a different group of freshmen every week, and I sort of had to make sure they got registered in all their classes, and it was great being part of a team, and… it’s a lot like teaching where you make meaningful connections with new people and you try to teach them everything that you know in a very short amount of time but it’s the working with people is really the fun part, and the exciting part about that.

At BHS, What’s one thing you were looking forward to?

I was looking forward to a lot of things.  There are definitely more diverse schools in Massachusetts, but when I came to visit for my interview it was great to see the amount of diversity that’s here.  And also you know you hear great things about the school, the great teachers that are here, the community that’s built around it. In Texas I was at a big athletic school, and so football was the thing, and everything was centered around the football game and the marching band and all of that.  And academics was always secondary, students were double blocked for all their athletics and basically it took precedence over everything else.  As a Latin teacher I think it’s great that students were so involved with the school and there are many advantages to that. It’s also a nice thing to be at a school where there are other priorities.

What was high school like for you personally?

I was at BU Academy, which was a tiny high school, I don’t know how many people there were in total at my school, but my graduating class was 33 students, so we were very small, and not only that but at BU academy basically they squeeze high school into three years and then your senior year you’re basically taking all college level classes, and so you’re even missing all the seniors at the school. it’s kinda hard to build community there, but on the other hand a lot of people were trying to build community and so I worked as sort of a junior mentor as you guys have here, and I did a lot of senior leadership stuff being captain of extracurriculars and stuff, and even then it’s such a small school that you have to be involved in like six different clubs because everybody’s looking for people

What were your extracurriculars?

I did a ton of stuff.  I did sports every semester, but they weren’t normal sports, I guess.  So I played soccer because I had been playing soccer forever, but I also did fencing as a winter sport and I was part of starting the ultimate frisbee team at my school, which was great.   So it’s a very small, eclectic school that I went to,  definitely not typical of anyone’s high school experience, and in many ways different from BHS.  People got to be who they wanted to be at my school because it was so small, so you know there wasn’t so much that you had to be a certain way.  Everyone just got to do their own thing, and that’s one of the great things I see still here at BHS.

What’s one thing you think of when you’re in the classroom, advice you like to think of

One thing that I told all my students this year at the beginning of the year is don’t change the Latin, let the Latin change you.  And it’s this idea that Latin has been around for thousands of years, and the reason why we study it today is because it makes people …it educates us, it tells us so much about ourselves and about who we are and helps us communicate better. If you take Latin you’ll become much better at vocabulary, you’ll understand languages better, you’ll understand writing better, grammar better, and all those things help you become a better person because you communicate better.  And most people don’t realize it’s happening to them.  It changes them from the inside … I think there are people who take Latin thinking that it will be a certain thing, but my wish is that when they take Latin they actually find that it’s this amazing thing and they’re awed by it in so many different ways.  It can be difficult, and I think people try to look for shortcuts when they find difficult things, but I try to discourage that and try to bring out the fact that the challenges are what make it rewarding.  The fact that it’s hard can be what’s so great about it.

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