This year I have begun occasionally giving my students writing prompts before class begins and allowing the first 5-6 minutes of class to be a time of reflection. I have found that in the midst of busy lives, loads of work, and everything else with which the teenage mind is occupied, it is absolutely necessary to remind them frequently why we do what we do.
I think the same goes for teachers as well. I can easily lose sight of the end goal of education if I get caught up in the day to day stress of completing curriculum plans and assigning grades. Moreover, in the busyness of life, it would be far too easy for me to become stagnant in my own learning. I fear that the heavy workloads for classical Christian educators may become the single greatest deterrent to successful education, for the very thing we are to model for students—a love of lifelong learning—is the first thing that goes in our busy lives.
Sometimes I think the challenge is where to begin. So much to learn, so little time, and it seems that we are inadequate for the task. Maybe if I could get a few more years of teaching experience, then life will be easier and I’ll be more equipped and have more time for that learning. But C. S. Lewis has some helpful advice for us all. In The Weight of Glory he writes, ““If men has postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun.” Lewis is right that we will never find ourselves secure, never find ourselves fully equipped, never find ourselves adequate for the task of this learning, but that inadequacy is all the more reason to begin our search for knowledge and beauty today.
I’m not sure where you find yourself today, but let me encourage you in the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. It was, is, and always will be hard work, but it is rewarding. So, create space in the schedule, sit down with a Great Book, a good friend, or both, and start searching today!
In future Monday Musings I plan to reflect on some of the writing prompts I give my students so that I am reflecting alongside them and modeling what I want to see in them. I would love to hear if you do something similar or if there are quotes/ideas you would love for me and my students to reflect upon.
C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), 49.