I rarely talk about education and Aletheia Christian School where I am the headmaster on this blog, but it is an important part of my life. There are two things I seem to be addicted to, seemingly against my will: (1)being involved in church work and (2)going to school. I can't seem to quit either of them. As far as the latter goes, I have found out that I love the classroom setting where ideas are exchanged and discussed with passionate inquiry. I don't always love the homework involved, but I love talking about ideas and stories and truth.
My school is part of an organization called the Association of Classical & Christian Schools, which adheres to the principles of Classical Education. It's a thing. You should read about it. I recommend starting here: Dororthy L. Sayers' "The Lost Tools of Learning", but you can also find plenty of info at my school's website as well as the ACCS site. I am especially excited to attend this teacher training as I have never been to an ACCS event before. I have kind of been stuck in my little corner of the world, unable to meet other headmasters and teachers from Classical schools or being able to observe how other schools operate and educate their students. I am looking forward to being exposed to the broader Classical school world.
I am also excited to gain a broader and deeper understanding of Classical Education itself so I can become a better teacher and I can equip the teachers at my school. Although I have a pretty good grasp of the system, I long to know how to better teach students according to the Trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric), how to better teach all the subjects as inter-connected fields of knowledge, as well as how to better teach as a Christian, that is, as someone who has put his faith in Christ and believes Christ to be Lord of this world. As an example of what I will be learning, here are some of the titles of the sessions: "The Power of Story, Part 1", "Teaching Literature to the Dialectic Student", and "Logic Instruction in the Classical Christian School." Fun stuff ami right!? These might sound boring depending on your particular interests but know that all the subjects will be covered during the four days I am there.
Apart from all these great expectations, I am also filled with a few trepidations, which I will just list out. I have 3 basic concerns: one about the Classical Education movement in general, one about my school in particular, and one about me as the headmaster of my school.
1. One of the concerns I have about Classical Education in general is that most of the schools I have observed from afar appear to be elitist and inaccessible to families with modest or low incomes. What are we saying about a Classical Education when the only families who can afford one are those who can shell out multiple thousands of dollars every year? Are we creating or merely acquiescing to built in class structures? So I am interested in finding out what kinds of scholarship opportunities the schools represented at the conference have in place to open up Classical Ed. to those children who might not normally be able to access it. I am also curious about whether or not people there will have an inordinate amount of pride, knowing that our system of education is the right one, the best one, the most accelerated. I have no tolerance for snootiness—there is too much work to be done in our world for the Kingdom of God and too many wonderful things to learn about God's world.
2. I want my school to grow and become better as an organization. I really want to learn from the example of Rockbridge Academy and the other schools represented at the training, but I am also afraid I will find it overwhelmingly daunting. There are so many steps to my school becoming what it needs to be, I often wonder if it will ever get there. Will seeing these other schools in action bring me hope or discouragement?
3. I have never felt adequate as an administrator, neither in how I am naturally gifted nor in how I have been trained. I am curious to see how I fit in with other headmasters, especially with those who are naturally gifted in administration and delegation. I am prepared to be intimidated.
So really, I am hoping to accomplish a lot this week on a number of levels. Check this space daily with my (relatively) brief updates.
Teach Conference Day 1
Aletheia Christian School in Peoria, Illinois
The Association of Classical and Christian Schools
2016 ACCS Conference Day 1