Today I had the absolute pleasure of visiting my sister's Year 7 class, and getting to answer a whole bunch of questions about Ancient Rome. My sister had warned me they might be bouncing off the walls a little since it was their last day of the school year, and they were, but in the most fun way! We played rota, we looked at some of the Roman stuff I have (a coin, a key, a pin), and I (hopefully) managed to answer their random questions satisfactorally.
The scene: my sister's classroom. Picture every one of these seats with a kid in it!
The questions started off with a doozy: Did Nero start the fire?
My answer: Probably not, but we'll never really know. And also, just because he didn't do that bad thing doesn't mean he wasn't a monster in a whole bunch of other ways.
Did the Romans have toilets?
Oh, this was one of my favourites. Watching a classroom full of horrified expressiosn when I described public toilets, and sharing a bench seat with your neighbour? Delightful, honestly!
What was the most disgusting thing the Romans ate?
Kudos to my sister for asking this one. And kudos to her for already knowing the answer was going to be dormice. But especial kudos to the girl in the front row who pointed out that it's no different from us eating meat today. She's exactly right. The idea of chowing down on some crispy roasted dormice might seem gross to us, but why is eating a dormouse any more gross than eating a lamb, or a chicken, or a cow? It's cultural bias, that's all.
Did the Romans have pets?
What did the Romans use for medicine?
Who was the craziest Roman emperor?
What did Roman houses look like?
What did the Romans wear?
It was honestly wonderful to discover that these kids were, on the whole, interested in exactly the same things I'm interested in: what daily life looked like in Ancient Rome, and how different (or similar; the kids loved the info about fast food) their lives were to ours.
Today's talk was a lot of fun, even though standing up in front of 30 twelve-year-olds was incredily stressful! Like, give me a room full of adults, thanks. Kids are totally unpredictable! But they were amazing, and fun, and I can't have been too tongue-tied because I've already been invited back next year.
And I already can't wait!