Theory Vs Experience

“At the moment, a good deal of what passes as instruction in classical pedagogy is mere theory, not experience or common sense, and this is because there are relatively few veteran teachers have with big platforms in the classical Christian movement. Instead: consultants, administrators, college profs, and bloggers. Give me the ten biggest names in classical Christian education right now—how many of them are elementary teachers? How many are high school teachers? Obviously, the movement needs consultants, administrators, bloggers, and so forth, for all these people play significant, indispensable roles. Don’t get me wrong. My concern has more to do with who is teaching teachers how to teach. Do the people teaching teachers how to teach have much experience? Are they using that experience to tutor the inexperienced?

It wasn’t until my fifteenth year teaching that I realized Dorothy Sayers’s notion of a “pert stage” and a “poetic stage” simply did not correspond with what I saw in the classroom. She was on to something with the “poll-parrot stage,” but I think that stage goes all the way to age eighteen. Looking back, I had seen the pert stage and poetic stage were mere fantasy much earlier in my career, but it took me years to put two-and-two together because so much of how I understood the classroom was filtered through the claims or inexperienced theorists.”

-from Put The Trivium On Ice And Cover The Basics First, my latest for CiRCE

My Strategy Is Simple: Tell It Like It Is

“At the moment, there are so many classical Christian schools hiring that whoever writes job postings simply has to assume stiff competition. That’s not happening, though. Classical Christian schools are still writing job postings as though classical Christian education is a small, scrappy movement for idealists and fringe weirdos who will be happy with anything they can get.  Most job postings for classical schools either sound like they were written by soulless bureaucrats or pop Christian radio DJs.”

-from How To Attract Interesting, Qualified Teachers To Your School, my latest for CiRCE

A Classical Education Is Not About Finding Your Passions

“Parent: High school is the time and place to figure out who you are and what you love.

Gibbs: It’s really not.

Parent: No?

Gibbs: No, I wouldn’t say it’s the place to figure out who you are and what you love. At very least, a classical Christian school isn’t that sort of place. I think that plenty of public schools bill themselves that way. Perhaps some Montessori schools do, as well, but not classical schools.

Parent: That’s a little baffling. Aren’t high school students figuring out what they want to do with their lives? What they want to study in college? What sort of careers they want to pursue?

Gibbs: Yes, and that’s fine, but the fact those things happen during someone’s high school years doesn’t mean a high school exists for that reason. A classical school exists to help students love the right things—and to help them love the right things in the right way, and to the right degree.”

-from A Classical Education Is Not About Finding Your Passions

The Modern World Simplified

Cashier: This store has recently begun charging you for services we used to give you for free.

Incompetent thinkers: Wow, you must really care about the environment and justice.

Cashier: Yes, thanks. Pay up.

Incompetent thinkers: Sure. No problem.