Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teachers!

By: Cozy Faber Parent of two students and Development Director of SLO Classical Academy

Today I want to talk about our teachers.

Every single teacher that we have on our campus absolutely loves to learn! This willingness to learn about new topics, to learn new techniques (not many primary schools are literature based and use socratic questioning) and the flexibility and willingness to step outside of their comfort zones are a foundational requirement for any grade level at SLO Classical Academy.

We have teachers who have a natural ability to see the connections between things— to cross topics and make each lesson meaningful. Our children are learning from teachers who have a holistic mindset and approach to teaching. In fact, they do more than just teach.

The teachers of SLO CLassical Academy carry a great mantle of responsibility— they must be able to see the full spectrum of their kids and be an expert on their classrooms. They must work closely with the parents of every single student, be sensitive to their needs and be comfortable with their role as partner.

Every staff teacher at SLO Classical Academy has a valid California Teaching credential or is more extensively trained in their area of expertise. We have three Doctors teaching at the high school level for example and our Latin teacher is well recognized throughout the country for her work in the field.

We are extremely proud of the caliber of people that make up the staff here at SLO Classical Academy and we work diligently to keep our school a place they are proud to work!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Embracing Curiosity at SLO Classical Academy

Written by Cozy Faber

Development Director and parent of two attending SLO Classical Academy

Over the summer I read a book called Tribes by Seth Godin. As many of you probably know, Seth is a pop-marketing guru with multiple best sellers in print. Purportedly his is the most read blog in the United States and any motivational speaker, radio talk show host or self-help column will at some point reference his body of work. Anyhow, this book Tribes kept popping up and I decided to read it.

First of all I highly recommend it. Easy read, simple observations that apply to probably everyone in some way. Godin succinctly outlines various real-life obstacles and follows them up with realistic solutions. This book has absolutely nothing to do with education, schools, home-school, teachers, or classical books. And yet as I read I experienced one of my most inspired moments remembering why SLO Classical Academy is such a gift to the children that attend.

Godin works by laying out a few social norms that everyone agrees with as he sets them up. As I read I could not help but nod my head and say “Yep, you got that one right Seth!” If he'd been sitting next to me I'd have slapped him on the back in enthusiastic agreement. Godin then guides the reader through each accepted situation, he gives a couple of real-time examples to support his claim and then: whammo! He reveals the truth and along with it a way to turn the tables and make this seemingly difficult situation into one where the reader becomes the winner. It’s real feel-good stuff.

I was taken off guard though while following the this next line of thought. Now, remember, Godin is carrying the reader down the path, telling the reader what we all know to be true, using accepted norms and situations to lure the reader into a sense of comfort so that his next revelation will be trusted and taken as valid. Here is the quote:

“It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious. For seven, ten or even fifteen years of school, you are required to not be curious. Over and over and over again, the curious are punished.”

It struck me as tragic that the stifling of a child’s natural curiosity has become more than just an acknowledged fact of our society. This reality is so accepted that a pop-culture phenomenon uses it as a general common experience to get the “mmm, hmm” out of readers and lead them to his next point.

This factoid baffled me. I wondered why, when we as a society can flippantly refer to our educational experience as being a squelching of curiosity, do we continue the cycle and put our children back into the very same system? Is it some sort of initiation that every American is expected to endure before being allowed to become curious?

My personal answer is NO! I remain ever steadfast with the decision my husband and I have made to educate our girls through SLO Classical Academy. This is a place where their detours of curiosity are not only embraced, but explored deeply, thoroughly and completely.