“Day by day” with Mr. Mercurio

“The kids are the best,” he said. “If they decide to take Latin for four years, they’re stuck with me, so I really get to know them well.”

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“Day by day” with Mr. Mercurio

Mr. Mercurio with a not very Latinate image on the screen.

Mr. Mercurio with a not very Latinate image on the screen.

Mr. Mercurio with a not very Latinate image on the screen.

Mr. Mercurio with a not very Latinate image on the screen.

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A word to describe Latin teacher Mr. Mercurio: nerd. He’s always kind of been one—a lover of history and culture and literature, and a passion for playing video games and watching anime.

 Mr. Mercurio grew up in Mantua Township, about thirty minutes south of Eastern. Since he was a student, he always knew he wanted to be a teacher. “I like getting paid to get to talk for a living,” he said, laughing.

 Latin is an important subject to him because it helps teach parts of history that may not be learned otherwise. “Every Latin sentence is kind of like a puzzle,” he said, and it takes patience and effort to learn how to solve.

 Above all, Mr. Mercurio enjoys sharing something he really loves with the kids that he teaches. “The kids are the best,” he said. “If they decide to take Latin for four years, they’re stuck with me, so I really get to know them well.”

 Eastern was Mr. Mercurio’s first teaching job, and he remembers his first year here as a crazy moment of his life. However, he stated that the foreign language department and the administrators were good resources for him to get acclimatized to the school.

 One thing that Mr. Mercurio has learned from teaching is that “you need to get inside kids’ heads a little bit.” While creating projects or lesson plans, it’s important to consider how the students would react to the assignment given in order to be an effective teacher.

 At Eastern, Mr. Mercurio runs the Junior Classical League (also known as Latin club) and the Latin Honors Society. The programs bring kids together from the different Latin levels and create an environment where students can enjoy and apply what they’ve been taught.

 As a teacher, Mr. Mercurio also tries to be as understanding as possible with his students’ circumstances, situations, and schedules. His piece of advice to students is to not get caught in the hype of high school stresses and college admissions. “A lot of them [students] are really good at making the right decisions, so they should focus on that instead of getting caught up in the noise.”

 As for advice for his past self, he would tell a younger Mr. Mercurio to be more realistic. “I wanted to be a college professor, as first,” he stated, “and I was dismissive of teaching other things.” He geared most of his college career towards being a professor, and it was only later that he realized high school teaching would be a better fit for him.

 Mr. Mercurio’s inspirations stem mostly from his own teachers—namely his high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Pearlman, who encouraged him and guided him on his path to be a Latin teacher himself.

 In the future, Mr. Mercurio has dreams to travel to places around the world such as Japan and Israel. “I don’t have a lot of stuff on my bucket list, though,” he said. “I try to go day by day.”

 A quote that Mr. Mercurio lives by is “The die is cast,” said by Julius Caesar as he led his army across the Rubicon River. The essence of the quote is that one has passed the point of no return, and there’s no going back. “You just have to do it,” Mr. Mercurio said.