Because life is a series of edits

Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category

Three Years: A Hard and Happy Time

In Calling, Church, Family, Friends, Marriage, Oklahoma City, Places & Spaces, Students, Teachers, The Academy, Veritas on June 9, 2014 at 7:45 am

City Pres Particularization

Reflecting on the fact that, as of this week, we’ve lived in Oklahoma City for three years. Here’s a video tour (or more accurately, a tour of videos) to commemorate the milestone.

We’ve had a hand in creating a new mascot

…a new school

…and a new church.

We’ve fostered and become advocates for foster care…

…mourned loss…

…reminisced and remembered…

…partied…

…had fun at another’s expense (quite justified)…

…had fun at our own expense (quite amusing)…

…and periodically had a little too much time on our hands (quite disturbing).

By God’s grace and providence, it’s been a hard and happy time – rarely one or the other; more frequently, one and the same. There’s more to say than anyone would read, and still more to do that too much nostalgic navel-gazing would allow.

Perhaps we should just let Psalm 16 have the last word:

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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Understanding That Energizes

In Education, Oklahoma City, Students, Teachers, The Academy, Young Ones on September 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Lightbulb

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Earlier this morning, I flew out of Oklahoma City for Merrimack, New Hampshire, where I’ll take part in a weekend conference called the Biblical Imagination Series with author and musician Michael Card. Mike and I have been friends for more than a decade, and we occasionally partner together to help believers engage with the Bible at the level of an informed imagination.

I mention this because I have the same goal when I teach the New Testament to Dialectic students. However, I have a huge advantage teaching our eighth graders over the majority of adult audiences we teach through Biblical Imagination, as our eighth graders – especially those who have been with our school multiple years – know their world history.

Just yesterday, we were learning about the intertestamental period – the roughly 400 years between Old and New Testaments and an important period to at least be familiar to better understand the historical and cultural context surrounding Jesus’ incarnation as recorded in the gospels. (It also makes for a fantastic mini-lesson on God’s prospering of his people Israel throughout history, but I digress.)

Drawing a timeline to chart some dates, places, and people groups, I was pleased at what my students already knew – not just the basic grammar of when, where, and who, but also the how and why of the order and power transitions from the Persians to the Greeks to the Romans (and before those, from the Assyrians to the Babylonians to the Persians). It was not just one particularly bright student helping me fill out the timeline; it was the entire class seemingly not even thinking twice about doing so.

As we continued, I mentioned to the students how they knew more about the history of the world at 14 than I did at 34 when I began seminary. I shared that, to my regret, it wasn’t until then that I really studied these cultures and civilizations in any systematic manner that stuck, and I was glad to learn more with them as we asked questions and discussed these periods and people of these times.

Later that afternoon, when I mentioned the joy of my experience to one of my teaching colleagues, she smiled knowingly. “They don’t even know how smart they are,” she replied. “It’s amazing.” Indeed, there was a matter-of-factness to their answers, all without a hint of arrogance (at least that I could pick up externally).

I’ve taught the Bible to plenty of 14-year-olds in my day; the difference at The Academy is that so many others have also taught them – when they were 12…8…6. It’s a privilege to teach New Testament to students who have taken two years of Old Testament with our own Josh Spears. It’s a gift to ask students to reference certain biblical stories and turn to particular books, the content and order of both their grammar school teachers have ensured they have learned. It’s humbling to talk with students about the Jesus of the Bible, knowing that these conversations have and will continue with parents around the dinner table at home (I know this because I’ve already had parents email to tell me about them).

As one teacher emailed me this week (and multiple teachers in both models and at all three trivium levels have echoed in conversation), “I have never been more energized by my students.” This sentiment, of course, doesn’t guarantee that every day will be this way or that our kids are perfect (newsflash: they aren’t), but it does speak of what our kids are capable – learning that goes beyond just knowledge for their own sakes to understanding that energizes and inspires those around them.

If there’s a better gift to offer our students and our inspiration-hungry world, I don’t know what it is. I’m grateful for our kids.

We’re Off Like a Herd of Turtles

In Parents, Students, Teachers, The Academy on June 6, 2013 at 10:55 am


I’m not even sure I can put into words the swirl of thoughts and emotions that I find myself consumed by these days as I think about The Academy of Classical Christian Studies. Perhaps like you, I am a concoction of wonder, doubt, fear, worry, hope, excitement, and faith concerning our new school.

There was a recent episode of The Office (or so I’ve heard) in which one of the characters muses “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” I resonate with the thought, especially on the heels of a last-minute trip I took to St. Louis to watch the boys I coached two years ago as freshmen and sophomores win their third straight state baseball championship. The weekend was a good weekend because those days were good days.

What about now? Have we just left the best days we’ve known as Providence Hall and Veritas, or are there new ones God has planned for The Academy?

I think we all know what the answer is; the question is, do we believe – really believe – it? I confess it’s been more than once that Nathan Carr and I have thought about what it would have been like to not investigate, instigate, and implement our new school. Life already seems more complicated since we were separate entities, but we’re not separate anymore (at least not legally as of June 1), and both of us hope this isn’t a mistake.

I honestly don’t think it is, but I can’t definitively say it’s for the best either, at least not yet. I have no immense amounts of evidence, no undeniable proof yet of this being for the good. I think it will be and I’m betting it will be, but I don’t know. The only thing I know is that we’re all once about to embrace a whole lot of work and risk and hope and pressure that I’m praying will – in two years, in five years, in ten years – seem silly to remember as such.

Like you, I want to have the sense that Jesus is leading, willing, and able to engage with us in the midst of all that we’re trying to do. I don’t doubt his hand, nor do I sense his absence, but it will take time to look back and identify a prolonged confidence of rightness about all of this. The fact is we’re all a little bit nervous.

I won’t pretend: I’m sometimes at a loss as to how to really pull this off. A majority of us have experience in education, but few of us can say we’ve ever merged two schools into one, nor have many of us even seen it attempted or done well. Maybe it won’t be as hard as I think it will be…or maybe it will be. Regardless, that shouldn’t stop us; we have the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and each other – I’m not sure there’s anything more we need.

Obviously, all of this would be easier if decisions could be purely objective, if opportunities could be evaluated one-dimensionally, and if nobody involved really cared about any of it. The reality, however, is our decisions involve real people, our opportunities are multi-layered, and we are a school filled with passionate people – board members, families, parents, faculty, staff, and students – who really care. If we’re not careful, this could be a train wreck waiting to happen.

But it’s also an amazing chance to believe God for something more – something more than we think we’re even capable of believing. As we step out in faith, I want to ask you to commit with me in our relational covenant – that 1) we would believe the best in one another; that 2) we would stand shoulder with one another; and that 3) we would talk to and not about one another as we endeavor to move forward as The Academy of Classical Christian Studies.

Healthy things grow beautifully into the way they were designed to grow; unhealthy things mutate – often into ugly and dysfunctional things that eventually die. Our relationships are the key to our growth and whether that growth is healthy or not.

Are we really going to pull this off? Is it really possible to grow our new school into what we hope it will become?

You and I both know that if God’s answer is “yes,” then so should ours be. In the past eight months – while working with dozens of godly and talented people from both schools – there have been plenty of opportunities for the possibility of God to say “no,” but that word has not seemed to come.

Instead, we have felt confident to move forward, even though we see in a mirror dimly, but hope to one day see more face to face; despite the fact that we know only in part but trust to know one day fully, even as we have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12). I’m grateful for your willingness to go with us and pledge to you to lead you and follow Christ as best I can.

“If there is an end for all we do, it will be the good achievable by action.” Aristotle

Let’s do this!

Three Trust-Building Tales

In Parents, Students, Teachers, Veritas on March 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Trust
Story #1:
A Central Campus mom investigating other possible Christian school
options told me that, when she took her children in for that school's
admissions testing, she picked up on some "homeschool hesitancy" from
the admissions coordinator. Apparently, before the students had even
taken their tests, the admissions coordinator was already assuming that
they would most likely need some remediation over the summer. The
children, however, tested off the charts, so much so that the mom told
me the admissions coordinator told her afterward (and I quote), "I don't
know what they're teaching at Veritas, but our school may need to make a
phone call to find out."

Story #2: WISE Council Chair, Catherine Brown, called me to say she had been in a meeting with a producer at the local Fox affiliate here in OKC and mentioned our merger with Providence Hall as part of The Academy of Classical Christian Studies.
He thought it might make a good 3-minute studio interview and had one
of his program directors call me to set it up, which she did. Two hours
after that phone call, she called me back to say that she thought the
story of our two classical Christian schools coming together would be
better told if Fox 25 came to both campuses and interviewed students,
parents, and teachers as part of a full story instead. No argument here! They're calling me back in a couple of weeks to set up a date to film.

Story #3: Just
yesterday, I received a call from one of our office staff to tell me
there was a woman downstairs wanting to talk with me about hosting our
Grammar School next year. Confused, I asked if the woman happened to
mention if she had an appointment, because I wasn't aware I had one.
Indeed, the woman hadn't made an appointment, but had heard about our
need for a site for our Grammar School and had sought permission from
her church leadership to inquire about our need. Her church is just ten
minutes from First Baptist Moore, where our Upper School will be, and we met today to walk through the facility, bringing our number of total viable sites to three.

God is writing stories like these in and through the life of our school – we love hearing and sharing them and, despite the trust they often require, we want to be a part of them as God ordains. What story is God telling in and through your family?

Introducing: The Academy

In Colleges & Universities, Educators, Parents, Pedagogy, Students, Teachers, Veritas on January 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm




Excited for what's ahead in 2013…and, by God's grace, beyond. Watch, then go here.

Thanksgiving (or “How to Make Upper Schoolers Squirm”)

In Students, Teachers, Veritas on November 21, 2012 at 5:12 am

Tuesday was our last day of school at Veritas before Thanksgiving break, and as I was scheduled to lead our morning assembly called RISE, I thought it might be a good opportunity to do something appropriate to the day. Our students and staff seemed in a pretty good mood (as they usually are on the last day before a break), so what did I have to lose?

I started out by talking about the fact that Thursday was Thanksgiving and that most of us are told to think about what we're thankful for this time of year. Then I told the students and staff that I wanted to turn the tables on the what thinking, and instead offer some thanks for (and to) whom I was thankful. I then proceeded to work my way around the room, calling each of the 80+ 6th-12 grade students and staff by name, and taking 10-20 seconds each to tell them why I was thankful for them.

You've never seen a more quiet group of Upper Schoolers squirm. It was great.

I had some fears in doing this. First, while I know the names of all of our Upper School students and staff, I was a little nervous that my rapid-fire approach would backfire and, for some reason, I might momentarily blank out and forget somebody, embarrassing him/her (and me) along the way. I had a few milli-second lapses, but nothing too huge…until I came to one of my daughter's best friends, whose name I could not for the life of me recall. (I had already gone through about two-thirds of the room with no major snafus so far, but this one was unfortunate; thankfully, she was very gracious – it was my daughter who was later less forgiving).

Second, while I knew this would take a little time, I didn't know it would take as much time as it did (about 20 minutes, which was double what it should have been within our normal parameters for RISE). When I finished the first half of the room and it was 8:30 already, I knew I was in trouble and I internally lamented that I was taking time from our first-hour teachers (particuarly since I still had half a room to go and it wasn't going to be until 8:45 until everyone finally made it to class). Thankfully, our teachers were their normal flexible selves, and several of them came up to me afterward to express appreciation for doing what I did even as they scurried to their classrooms.

Third, I was just afraid that this whole idea would come off as obligatory or trite, as if I wasn't really thankful for every student or staff member in the room but had to be because I said I was, or that it would seem like I was just making stuff and keeping it general enough because I really didn't know any of those I was thanking. If I would have had the idea earlier (and the time to do something with it), I might (and probably should) have printed a formal list and prepared a more solid sentence or two of appreciation for each person. Unfortunately, not all of my best ideas (very few of them, actually) come with prep time built in, so I just prayed and went with it on the fly.

Though there were plenty to mention (and I mentioned plenty), I tried not to focus on obvious outward things like talents and abilities, but instead concentrated more on character virtues in our students and staff for which I was thankful. This was hard, of course, as we are so conditioned by our culture to thank people for what they do rather than who they are, but I wanted to try to help our students and staff understand that, though they have many, they are not their gifts.

A few general observations:

  • Whether students or adults, none seemed comfortable with genuine public appreciation. I noticed two different main responses: 1) forced eye contact, in which they were bound and determined to look at me because I was speaking to/about them in public; or 2) the avoidance of eye contact at all costs, as it was just too intimate of a moment to share in front of others.
  • While I don't think it was too obvious externally, I
    recognized internally that I knew some students (and even staff)
    better than others, which mentally worked against me if I let myself go
    too far down the road of evaluating real-time every ten-second attempt
    at thankfulness. I had to let this go (at least for the time being) so
    as to not sabotage the attempt, but it was a good reason and reminder to
    work harder at getting to know all of our people better.
  • The twenty minutes it took to work through everyone was the easiest period of full attention I've ever requested from a room full of 6th-12th graders. Students were fascinated (appalled?) by the fact that, not only were they being singled out in front of their peers, but they were being singled out for positive and personal reasons. While there were plenty of laughs and lots of smiles, there seemed a subtle insecurity running through the room that I might come to one of them, not have anything nice to say, and just skip over someone to someone else as a result. Thankfully, that was not the case.

What was the case was a renewed appreciation in my own heart for whom these students and staff are as people, as well as a really nice start to a really nice last day before Thanksgiving break. We forget – I forget – how desperate all of us are for validation. We're affirmation junkies! My little attempt at something different for RISE was a big reminder personally that gratitude must be communicated (and not just stored up) to fully harness its helpful (and often healing) power.

"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right,
because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of
you for one another is increasing." 2 Thessalonians 1:3


Sacramental Science

In Educators, Pedagogy, Teachers, Veritas on October 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm


Bill Smiling


Bill Fix is a retired science teacher who taught 26 years at Norman High. But it wasn't until he attended our Constructing the Vision banquet this past March that he finally had the language to name his classical education tendencies.

"A Veritas staff member invited me to attend the banquet and I was so glad I did," he recalls. "I was blown away listening to Susan Wise Bauer describe classical education's grammar, logic, and rhetoric progression, as it was exactly the way I always tried to think about and teach science. I was inspired."


Janet and Bill

So inspired, in fact, that he agreed to sit in with me (Craig) in the spring as I interviewed applicants for our vacant Upper School science positions. We also got together periodically during the summer to discuss longer-term plans for more solidly developing our entire school science curriculum in conjunction with Academic Dean Todd Wedel and our curriculum mapping team.

A member at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, Bill gets what we're trying to do through classical Christian education, and he has the expertise and experience to help us do it across the sciences.


Bill Explaining

"The way to learn science is to do science," says Bill. "The experiment
is the focus at the beginning, not the tag-along at the end. If we're
going to get students talking about science, they have to have
content to talk about. The experiments are the database from which they
can draw."

This lines up well with our desire at Veritas to do what one of our board members has called "sacramental science" – a hands-on approach to the study of the general, physical, and earth sciences, as well as to our biology, chemistry, and physics courses.


To that end, just yesterday Bill stopped by to drop off nine boxes – nine boxes! – of
scientific instruments and glassware he had rounded up free of charge
for Veritas. He also sat in on two of our science classes before joining
our juniors and co-teaching Chemistry. I'm honestly not sure who had
more fun – our Veritas students or Bill.


Science Toys 1


Science Toys 2

In a conversation about deeper goals for our Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum, I asked Bill for his perspective as to what a student and teacher of the sciences should look like. As he is wont to do, he paused before answering, then offered this:

"I want to see students learn and demonstrate good
observational skills and ways of going about, sorting, and synthesizing
data and systems. The science teacher's job is not to be the source
of information, but the guide through the unknown."

Which is why I've asked Bill to serve as a mentor for us in the area of the sciences. I'm excited to see where he guides our students and teachers as they explore God's world.

Guest Post: Believing That We May Understand

In Educators, Teachers on October 16, 2012 at 9:39 am


Spears, Josh(Veritas Classical Academy Upper School teacher Josh Spears is a trained philosopher and logician, adjunct professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, husband to Kirsten, and father to three boys. His guest post is a great example of how he helps his boys think critically about the supposed dichotomy between knowledge and faith.)

"Man
shall not live by bread alone,
but
by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God
."
Jesus, Matthew 4:3

"I've seen it done, but I'd like to have a little more
scientific backing before I risk my own feet."
Grant Imahara, Mythbuster

Veritas is
committed to helping students understand God’s world and His Word. This commitment to education involves
affording opportunities to students for growth in knowledge, understanding and
wisdom and faith, hope and love. 

This desire to
combine faith and knowledge makes Veritas unique in a culture that attempts to
drive a wedge between those two. Richard
Dawkins
, for example, carelessly defines faith as "believing what you know
ain’t so." In a slight improvement, faith
is sometimes taken to be what’s left over when knowledge goes as far as it
can. Still another definition of faith takes
it to be a blind leap in the dark.

In each of these
definitions, faith and knowledge are taken to be distinct. So distinct, in fact, that having both at the
same time is impossible. Thus, the
believer faces a choice: it’s either knowledge or faith. Unfortunately, many Christians have accepted
(and initiated) definitions of faith like those above. They have bought in to the false choice and
opted to pit faith against knowledge. Christians,
however, ought to reject this choice between faith and knowledge is a false one. We needn’t choose between having faith and
having knowledge. In fact, true knowledge
involves true faith, a point that came home on a recent foray into one of my family's
favorite shows. 

My family and I
often re-watch Mythbusters and we
found in the "Fire Walking" episode a powerful example of true faith’s relation
to true knowledge. If you’re unfamiliar with Mythbusters, it’s a Discovery
Channel
show that applies the scientific method to various myths in an attempt
to determine whether the myth is true or false (I’ll flee the temptation
to digress into a discussion of true nature of myth).

In this episode, three Mythbusters – Carie,
Grant, and Tori – explore whether it takes being in a trance to master walking
barefoot on hot coals heated to more than 1,000 degrees. To test the myth, the three travel to meet a fire walking guru who trains others to walk across glowing
coals and, having spent time with him, they then spend an entire evening
watching a dozen men and women make the walk unscathed. 

With the
evidence of an authoritative instructor, the evidence of the testimony of the
coal-walkers, and the evidence of senses, Grant has a fascinating reaction. Watch this two-minute summary to see what I mean:


Despite having that evidence, he won’t step
out onto the coals.What more could he
want? Grant says that he wants to see
the science. He won’t believe until he
sees. So, he and the others spend time
making life-like feet out of rubber, running experiments on the physics of heat
transfer, and covering all their scientific bases.

So, now Grant
has the evidence of science to go with the previous evidence gained at the fire
walking demonstration. But it’s here
that things truly get interesting. It’s
most interesting that even after he has the science, Grant still doesn’t have
knowledge. Grant is looking for a
certainty – a certainty that fire walking is safe. He looks for this certainty in science, or
better, he thinks he’s looking for
certainty in science.

The trouble is
that science cannot provide the certainty necessary to drive the wedge between
knowledge and faith. Having the date is not the same thing as actually
stepping out on the coals. It is not
knowledge until feet touch heat. Grant
must literally step out in faith. Science and senses, testimony and training can only go so far. In the end, it takes that first step and that
first step is nothing less than faith. So, science and knowledge require action and acting requires faith. Grant lives by faith as much as any believer
does.

What all this
gives us is a beautiful picture of biblical faith. Faith is another way of
knowing that which is built on solid evidence. God does not call us to follow him without knowledge; he doesn’t ask us
to fling ourselves off a cliff in a desperate hope that something is there on
the other side. Faith is essentially
trust – trust that God will continue to
keep his promises, trust that the
promise-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be my promise-keeping God. I
see and study his work in His world and Word and step out with him in trust on that basis. He’s given me all the reason I need to trust
him, but until I actually live that out, I have neither faith nor
knowledge. 

We must
continue to combine faith and knowledge at Veritas and remain committed to training students
to live out Augustine’s maxim, "I believe
that I may understand."
There need not be a dichotomy between knowledge and faith; God has provided each to lead to the other…and both to lead to Him.

Desiring the Kingdom (First Quarter Review)

In Books, Educators, Teachers, Veritas on October 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

A former teaching colleague (and current friend) of mine is using Desiring the Kingdom as a key text for his Christian educational ministries degree. He asked if he could send me a few questions detailing my experience with James K.A. Smith's book and its impact on our first quarter of school (to revisit my favorite quotations from each chapter of Desiring the Kingdom, visit one of these summer posts: Intro, 1.1, 1.2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.). Here's what I wrote back:

Can
you briefly explain the format that you went about discussing Desiring the
Kingdom together?

We used Desiring the Kingdom as a framework to
work through discussions on classical education in theory and practice, as well
as across schools (i.e. Grammar and Upper). Through this lens, we processed
together thoughts and perspectives from the ACCS conference in Dallas, updated and
continued work on our Curriculum Mapping initiative, interacted over and
continued working out our trans-denominational perspective, reviewed and
renewed our commitment to each other through the relational covenant,
implemented new and creative ways to blend our classical Christian model of
education, engaged in planning first day habits and liturgies, learned about
and practiced teaching to different learning styles, discussed important
educational mechanics like workload evaluation, grading standards, lesson
planning, and school systems, and helped prepare staff for their part of our
WISE (Walking in Step Educationally) Parent Training Conferences in August.

After
discussing DTK, what did you sense was the overall response of the faculty to
what James K. A. Smith is proposing? What
aspects of Smith’s argument were most popular with the faculty? What
were the critiques and did you have any significant pushback?

Smith’s perspective on ritual and liturgy
were huge for our staff, particularly for those who had not considered either
as being more everyday than every week (i.e. Sunday at church). This emphasis
and language was important for our school as it gave the teachers both
rationale and words for why we try to do what we do, whether it be Grammar
school students walking in lines or Upper school students sitting meditatively
in RISE (our morning assembly).

The most
significant pushback had more to do with staff (particularly in the Grammar
school) feeling it was a tough read. Some of these same staff felt Smith
negatively overreacted to the ideas of capitalism, patriotism, and our nation’s Christian
heritage.


Smith’s
writing is pretty philosophical, heady. How did you go about putting hands and
feet on his proposals?

One key to this was
the assembly of a study guide by our theology/philosophy teacher. Another was allotting
plenty of time during orientation (and in more informal conversations) during
which the book and its contents were the main topic of discussion. We spent a
good amount of time in the book’s introduction (which is really sufficient in
many ways as a summary of the book).

What
parts of the book did you think spoke directly to the VCA community?

Again, the ritual
and liturgy emphasis was important, as was the Smith’s succinct statement that
true Christian education should be about shaping what students love more than
what they know. Historically, this has been the desire of the board for the
school, but I wouldn’t say the language for this was as clear in the minds and
hearts of the staff as Smith’s brief statement; however, once unleashed, there
seemed to be quite an “a-ha” moment across all grades as to what we were after
(and what we weren’t).


Which
parts were particularly meaningful or important for you as the Head of School?

For me, Smith’s book was a powerful validation of much of
what I have always believed about Christian education (classical or otherwise),
summarized with great depth. The fact that our theology/philosophy teacher
recommended the book to me with the words, “I think you’ll like this because
it’s what I hear you saying” meant a lot and unintentionally loaned me some
borrowed credibility in the eyes of the staff. As a second-year Head of School,
this has been immeasurably helpful in at least giving me confidence that, while
I’m continuing to solidify my educational philosophies and perspective, I’m
perhaps not just making this stuff up out of thin air.


In
this first quarter of the school year, where have you seen evidence of your
discussion bearing fruit in the lives/work of your faculty, parents, and
students?

As we have a good amount of new staff (some brand new to
teaching), I feel our time in Desiring
the Kingdom
has been particularly helpful in getting them off on the right
foot. While the majority of our teachers (new or veteran) wrestle on a weekly
basis with what classical Christian education looks like in their classes, I
think we’re newly aware of what it doesn’t look like as a result of our reading
the book.

This brings clarity to our efforts and bolsters confidence in our
attempts to train parents and students in a more character-focused,
virtues-driven education as opposed to one more competency-focused and
values-driven. Reading the book through the summer, training through its
presuppositions during staff orientation, and then implementing and applying
these ideas face-to-face by utilizing our teachers as the main presenters at
our two-day parent orientations got all of us off to as good a start as I would
have hoped. Still, there’s plenty of opportunity to revisit and review Desiring the Kingdom, as old educational
habits for all involved tend to die hard.