It is often said that the arts are a means of sharing in the "human experience." And while I probably heard that phrase a few too many times in my high school literature class not to hear it as cliché, there is a part of me that appreciates this time-honored saying. Our curriculum places an… Continue reading Embracing Humanity
So what do we do in our classical classrooms? How do we form citizens who know where they come from, and where they are going? Citizens who know how to avoid repeating mistakes made in our past? Citizens who can creatively solve problems and who have been formed by the repeated practice of doing the next right thing?
There are a number of mistakes I have made teaching throughout the years, but I think perhaps the biggest was not providing enough studio demonstrations when I first started teaching art. Back then I had a fear that my demonstrations would not turn out well and I would lose credibility with the class if they… Continue reading The Power of a Demonstration
“Pourquoi est-ce que les vacances scolaires sont importantes?” Posing the question “Why are school breaks important?” to a room of high schoolers four days before the end of first semester garnered the exact passionate responses I anticipated from these tired youths. After some time for reflection, I recorded the class’ reactions on the board: “Nous sommes fatigués ! Il faut se reposer ! J’ai envie de dormir ! - We are tired! We have to rest! I need sleep!” As a teacher, I feel the same sentiments keenly this time of year.
With everyone’s minds on the family gatherings, vacation trips, or general time of relaxation so near at hand, it is especially hard to keep students’ attention and interest in class materials. However, we don’t want to waste the precious minutes we have with our students and make school that day feel like a waste for both you and them. So, what can be done to make the day productive?
We began our lesson on fractions, and I prepared to say the words I read in the manual the day before. "The numerator is the number above the fraction line. The denominator is the number underneath the fraction line. They represent parts being taken or the total number of parts in the whole, respectively." As I considered these words, I realized how abstract these ideas are. My lesson could be much more effective with a practical activity in my students’ hands.
As a teacher in a classical classroom, I hope that my teaching will be effective for all my students. But recently, I heard another educator claim that the education we offer doesn’t work for boys. It is too still, too boring, and too structured. Being in a very full classroom with more boys than girls this year, I would like to speak to this critique.
We have assembled here today to honor all American veterans: those who have gone before us, those who, we are proud to say, stand here with us, and all who have served in the armed forces for the defense of our great country and our common way of life. We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude that cannot easily be repaid, and words, certainly, will not suffice. But we have also assembled this morning to reflect on what it is that we honor together: on the values of courage and self-sacrifice that our veterans exemplify, and that we hold to be worthy of imitation. Veterans Day is a time for us to ask ourselves: Can we, too, have such virtue? Would we be able to withstand the test?