We should all be familiar with Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew chapter 6 to seek the kingdom of God rather than chase after the things we think we need. He doesn’t say we should forget about the things we think we need—food, clothes, the important stuff—but that those things will be added to us if we will seek first the kingdom of God. The idea seems to be that seeking after food and clothing (and fill in the blank) is something akin to getting so blinded by individual trees that we become unable to see the forest. Or worse: Jesus seems to be cautioning us against a form of idolatry, against letting our material needs (and wants) take the place of God as the focus of our worship and devotion.
As Trinitas celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, we are delighted to welcome a number of new faces to our school community. In addition to more than a dozen new families, we are welcoming several new faculty members and one new administrator to the Trinitas community. We thank God for his blessings on our school and are eager to introduce these fine folks to you.
About the time we wrap up the school year, my thoughts turn to my garden. My garden provides a quiet place for work and contemplation, and as is my wont, my musings rarely stray far from my life as a teacher. Cultivating in my students a love for learning and a desire to love God and neighbor is a lot like cultivating a garden.
The common notion about teachers at the end of the school year is that they run out of the building screaming like banshees and then retreat to the comfort and ease of lounging beside the pool all summer to recover. Frequently during the last week of school, parents will ask teachers what they plan to do all summer. I remember one parent who stopped by the school a couple of weeks into summer and was truly dumbfounded to find the parking lot full, the office well-staffed, and all the teachers hard at work. “Don’t y’all know it’s summer?” he stammered. Yes, we do.
Last week, we began to answer the question “What should you look for in a Christian school?” with a discussion of how we teach. But there is more to the distinctly-different Trinitas education including what we teach.
It is our aim at Trinitas to indoctrinate students in their western heritage by teaching them classical content rooted in the western tradition.
For all practical purposes, the current school year is over. Long summer days stretch out before us; but for a few parents, uncertainty about where their kids will attend school in the fall overshadows the potential joys of summer vacation. Such uncertainty may be a result of a recent or pending move, a young child going to school for the first time, or a pressing need to change schools. Regardless of the circumstances, the question “What should you look for in a Christian school?” should be of the highest priority.
Over the next three weeks, we will show how Trinitas answers that question beginning with a discussion of how we teach, then what we teach, and finally why we teach.
We’ve spent the last two weeks thinking about the dominant form of grades used in schools today, the history and effects of that system, and why they are not the ideal for a classical Christian school.
Bear with me one more time as I recall our pitching metaphor. A coach who tells a young pitcher that they threw a “C+” pitch is not providing much help. And the young pitcher who interrupts a coach’s instruction to ask, “Yeah, but did I pass?” might be riding the bench for a while. Why? Because we understand intuitively that constructive feedback is about more than a graded evaluation.
As we saw last week, the modern grade scale is a fairly recent development in education and not one that has a long history of success or stability. This week we will look at how grades are perceived to function which has important implications for a Christian classical school.
The purpose of grades in a classroom, under the A–F system, is to pass judgment through a numerical evaluation. This gives the notion of impartiality and objectivity while mitigating the force of the judgment. We pass judgment every day, of course, regarding what shoes to wear, what route to take to work, and even what to say to our boss. Judgment is an inescapable part of the human experience. But there is no denying: we do not like feeling “judged.”