Our school has started up our faculty meetings for the coming year. Have you?
The building is in a bit of disorder, but getting better day-by-day. We had a major renovation this summer — replacing the entire roof of the middle school — and re-covering the walls with insulation and stucco. It’s all part of an effort to get ready for our 50th anniversary this year (founded 1961).
I’ll be teaching Latin and 7th grade history (American history) this year, as well as working on the design program we began last year. Part of me is unsure about teaching Latin after a long time away from it, but another part of me, the larger part, is excited to be returning to the language of ancient Rome. It has a formal structure to it, and a logic, which I’ll find refreshing and orderly when I need it.
Last year was my first year teaching American history, and I enjoyed it. I always mocked my American history colleagues, though, because after 15 years of teaching world history, there was one thing I was certain of — civilizations rise. Then then have a time of greatness. Then they fall. I don’t believe in “American exceptionalism”, this notion that America will always be great and always be a leader in the world. I believe, instead, that we tend to be a great nation when we walk our talk around the freedom and dignity of our citizens… and less of a great nation when our leadership and citizenry forget our founding ideals in the name of safety and security. It will be an interesting year, walking the balance between the bright message of progress in an American history textbook, and my own sense that history beats down any civilization a little bit at a time.