Going all the way back to Aristotle, there has been a recognition of the profundity inherent in the teaching profession. He is reported to have said that “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.” As anyone who has ever tried to explain an idea or a process to another person, you really have to understand it in order to teach it to someone else. Fortunately for teachers, we are allowed to practice year after year, giving us the ability to hone our craft and to eventually understand both our subjects and our students really well.
This practice also plays out for Bosque students in their classrooms. Experienced teachers guide students to a deeper understanding of current events in a history class, for example. In advanced Latin courses, students are able to discuss challenging topics, such as whether a republic is really a representative form of government. Digging deeply into a topic is what Inquiry Projects throughout our entire school curriculum are all about. That understanding culminates in Senior Colloquium where our graduates demonstrate their understanding of a complex topic borne of their own passions.
There’s an old joke that asks what are the three best reasons to teach? The answer is June, July, and August. The joke misses the entire point of teaching. Teachers actually earn their living by sharing the passion they feel for esoteric things like grammar, history, physics, math, music, or creepy-crawly things. Teachers are paid to be geek-like or sometimes even to play like a child. On an almost daily basis, we watch the lights go on as our students come to understand new concepts. Our classrooms become close-knit communities, and all day long we are surrounded by what the world CAN BE rather than by what it currently is. This is a huge psychological boost to an optimistic worldview. And if that weren’t enough, teachers join a vibrant learning community as part of their employment where everyone is continually learning. It is a profession in which an employee is not only expected, but also paid to continue learning—year in and year out.
The old joke notwithstanding, the rhythm of a school year promotes health and well-being for people in education. Unlike other work environments, a teacher’s work comes to a definitive end. The school year ends, and all the requirements—of grading papers, preparing lessons, and follow through—end with it. And most beneficial of all, a good rest comes next.
Over the summer, teachers catch up with their families. Sometimes they simply catch up with the weeds in their garden. Sometimes they travel. And once they are rested, teachers begin to look forward to seeing their students again. And then the new seasons of the school year begin; we’re given a fresh start from which all things seem possible. I believe this goes a long way towards promoting health and longevity among teachers.
As the 2018–2019 school year comes to a close, we wish our teachers a well-deserved and restful summer break and look forward to starting over again come August. Many thanks to each of them. And many thanks to our parents for their kind support of our work throughout the year. See you again in August.