Archive for teachers

Apr
04

Scholar-Teachers

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I minored in history in college, and one of my professors was a real piece of work. The class was called “The Age of Reason,” and we were supposed to be learning about the Enlightenment in the 18th C. However, this professor had dedicated his scholarly life to studying 18th C. French gardens, and that was all – I mean all – he lectured on. He assigned three books (all about French gardens), and gardens were all he appeared to care about. In fact, it was obvious to me that while he loved his subject, he merely tolerated his students. Did you ever have a teacher like that?

Arthur Holmes, in his book Building the Christian Academy, wrote,
If we consider the art or science that is taught, then it is a contemplative life devoted to the truth; but if we consider students and their needs, then it is indeed an active life engaged in the affairs of this world for the common good. It is not a choice between the two, for with a duty to both the discipline and the student, the teacher should in reality be a teacher-scholar.

So which is it: should teachers love their subject or their students? If Dr. Holmes is right, the answer is “yes.”

In the classical Christian vision for education, the teacher is a not simply a technician who has studied the science of pedagogy. Rather, the teacher is a scholar who leads “a contemplative life devoted to the truth.” Should the teacher be skilled in the science of pedagogy? Absolutely. But a teacher’s greatest trait is a love for learning and for truth (historical truth, mathematical truth, language truth, etc.). She shares that love for learning with her students. She is first and foremost a pursuer of truth and of the One who is the Truth.

And of course a classical Christian teacher doesn’t just love his subject; he loves his students. He leads “an active life engaged in the affairs of this world for the common good” – and what greater good is there than training children to live for God? Students are image bearers of the Triune God. They aren’t pupils filling desks, by which a teacher gets a paycheck. Teachers are called to give themselves away to their students, to invest in them, and to approach them as dearly loved children.

Teachers who love their students but don’t love their subject can never lead their students to love learning. Teaching is always incarnational, and teachers are called to model their love for truth before their pupils in order for them to be transformed into their teacher’s image.

Teachers who love their subject but don’t love their students will be distant, harsh, and self-involved. Learning is drudgery when it’s about the teacher grinding through his pet subject or it’s merely about checking off the stuff you have to do to fulfill the class requirements. That drives students away. But love draws them. Relationships are powerful things.

I can still remember those long periods sitting under my French garden professor (I struggle even to remember his name). But let me tell you about Mr. Grove or Mr. Orlofsky or Dr. Lea. They were passionate for their subjects, but they loved me, too (somehow – I don’t think I was very lovable back then).

Teachers at Regents Academy aim to properly balance passion for our subjects and love for our students. The vision for scholar-teachers, with “duty to both the discipline and the student,” is a worthy vision. It is one we are committed to.

Categories : from the headmaster
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Jun
30

Welcome, Dayna Stanaland

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It is our pleasure to welcome a new first grade teacher to Regents Academy.

We are very thankful for Mrs. Deborah Kirby’s years of faithful service to the school, and now we are very thankful for Mrs. Dayna Stanaland’s joining the faculty.

Dayna is no stranger to Regents Academy. Her daughters Hayli and Madison will enter kindergarten and 2nd grade next year, and Lilly will enter the KPrep class. Dayna is known around the school not only as a gracious and kind Christian lady but also as an involved mom and a willing substitute teacher. Dayna and her husband Michael call Nacogdoches home and have done so for many years. A graduate of SFA, Dayna previously taught at Central Heights and is glad to be serving as a teacher at Regents Academy.

The first grade students will undoubtedly have a joyful and enriching adventure next year in Mrs. Stanaland’s class as they grow in the knowledge of God and His world.

Welcome, Dayna!

Categories : hellos and goodbyes
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I recently celebrated another birthday (I think it was my 21st) and some of my students created a very touching card for me. They reminisced about some old times that we had last year, but more than that they thanked me for loving and caring for them as a temporary mom! I was raised not to be given to tears but upon receiving the sentimental birthday wishes, I couldn’t hold a wave of them back. I enjoyed a few more happy tears during the day and reminded myself that it is all worth it! I love teaching!

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Theodore Roosevelt said,

It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds.

So could I also add or infer that the credit belongs to the teacher who is actually in the classroom, whose hands are marred by Expo marker and blouse messed by drying dirty tears and feet aching because sitting isn’t an option if you want children to actually learn; who strives valiantly to teach “how to solve for X,” and comes short again and again in turning in Teacher Notes on time, because there is no effort without lots of error and numerous shortcomings in their own character; but the credit belongs to the teacher that rises early every morning and thinks about his students on the way to school and who most certainly strives endlessly to make this arrow better?

Do you think T.R. would mind taking some liberties in his well stated exhortation?

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