Monday, September 05, 2011

Magical Moment: Man on Campus, Part I

By now, we're all familiar with Troy Wathan. He is the man who brought us Bob Marley, SLOCA style on the first day of school.  
He is our new Associate Director as well as, a Lower Middle School teacher on Track A.  Troy and his wife, Summer moved here with their two daughters, Faith Marie and Grace.  We asked him a few questions to get to know him better.



What intrigued you, drew you to SLO Classical?  

I actually came across SLO Classical Academy because I was looking to see if there were any classical schools on the central coast. When I looked at the website, it was obvious that there is a lot going on at SLOCA, from the core curriculum to the varied enrichment classes. The philosophy of the school is very important because without a clear philosophy of education, most teaching gets driven by the latest pendulum swing. I believe firmly in the importance of students coming to own their education rather than having it be something forced upon them. The team approach to education seen at SLOCA leads to students who understand what education is for rather than thinking it is something to be endured as a ticket to life. Now that my family and I are here, we see how integral the families are to the success of this program. We appreciate the involvement that we have seen and look forward to integrating into this great community.

Tell me about classical education in the home (what's specific and different about it?).  Partnering with that, what are your must haves, that you're not willing to give up?  


For classical education to really work, there must be involvement from parents and students. I believe that the key to children becoming lifelong learners is for them to have it modeled for them. It can't be done by teachers alone. Children are much smarter than that. If we hope to have them take their education seriously, we must help them see that education is a worthwhile lifelong endeavor.

I believe classical education must include a clear understanding of the importance of developing the grammar, logic and rhetoric of all areas of study.  This includes a recognition of the developmental stages of a child but also the logical structure of the subjects we study. The goal of education is for the student to reach a point of enjoyment of the subjects he or she is learning and to recognize how those subjects are interrelated. The well-educated person makes connections between subjects and is, thus, able to observe the connectedness of life. The recovering of rich historical and literature studies is also a necessary component of a classical education because those subjects help us to experience the struggles and victories common throughout time and cultures. Reading about heroes, villains, and common people of the past allows us to live vicariously through them while learning how to live better in the present.

How does the Renaissance look different than the Middle Ages; what can we be excited about this year?

The Middle Ages is filled with interesting stories including knights, castles, mythical creatures and the like. However, literature and philosophy were relatively scarce during that period of history. Thankfully, the Middle Ages was also known for groups of monks who holed themselves up in monasteries copying the great stories of the classical time period. These manuscripts that were saved in the midst of wars and some attempts at eliminating the stories of the past resurfaced during the time of the Renaissance, inspiring some of the innovations about which we will read this year. 



The Renaissance is known for the rebirth of the classical period with more attention given to reading epic poems like the Iliad and the Odyssey, a reawakening to philosophy, realistic depictions in art, and advances in architectural technologies. 

With the advent of the printing press, communication of ideas began to flourish and advances in art, travel, writing and reading, and the redevelopment of civilization took root. Where the Middle Ages was known for pockets of intellectuals, the Renaissance seems to be a time of intellectual flourishing. My hope for classical schools such as SLOCA is that we would become known for a renaissance of intellectual and artistic flourishing.

Come back tomorrow as Troy shares how he and his wife, Summer, foster a classical home.


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