Joshua Gibbs Jun 23, 2019

A dialogue between a manager at Food Country and a seventeen year old boy who has applied for a job. 

Food Country Manager: Sorry, but based on the way your tests came back, I cannot offer you a job.

Kid: Why not? I couldn’t have failed the drug test.

FCM: Your drug test was fine, but your light scan came back hot.

Kid: My light scan?

FCM: The retina scan they did after you peed in the cup.

Kid: Yeah, what was that about?  

Joshua Gibbs Jun 20, 2019

Like most practical and common-sense claims, my thesis is also a little offensive: In the classroom, teachers should dress like teachers.

Reflexively, the reply comes: But who gets to say what a teacher looks like?

Joshua Gibbs Jun 17, 2019

April may be the cruelest month, but Summer is the most pagan of the seasons.

Joshua Gibbs Jun 7, 2019

If a basketball club has great uniforms, an inspiring mascot, a kind-hearted owner, a wise coach, loyal fans, and a tastefully designed stadium, but the players cannot get the ball to go through the hoop, the team will not win any games. In the same way, a classical school has to have classically-minded teachers.  

Joshua Gibbs Jun 5, 2019

Should students be taught what to think or how to think? Lest we think the question is new, we see the seeds of the debate emerge between the Epicureans and the Stoics— those who belief the chief good of man is found in the body and those who believe his chief good is found in the soul.

Joshua Gibbs Jun 4, 2019

Around thirty years ago, a movement began to restore classical education in American elementary schools and high schools. The first stage of the restoration of classical education was the recovery of classical texts. Around fifteen years ago, the second stage undertook the recovery of classical pedagogy. Today, I believe a third stage is underway. We have begun the recovery of classical assessment, grading, and class management.    

Joshua Gibbs May 22, 2019

After Jocasta

A poem by Joshua Gibbs


Betrayal revealed terminal illness soberly

diagnosed infidelities illuminated

accidentally pious superstitions doubted

for a lifetime then confirmed

suddenly in blood

on the doorstep


such horrors never fail to draw

this lament from our lips:

I should have known


But this is not the judgment

of the soul

for the soul responds:


but you did know

Joshua Gibbs May 21, 2019

As a literature teacher, parents often tell me, "I want my son to become a better writer over the course of the year." While it is not inappropriate to tell the literature teacher this, a literature class is not a writing class. It is the responsibility of every teacher of every subject (from rhetoric to English to biology) to discipline students in the art of writing.

Joshua Gibbs May 13, 2019

I recently went to the grocery store and parked beside a car which was more full of garbage than any other car I have ever seen. Fast food bags, busted electronic gear, appliances, wadded up clothes, and empty bottles filled the passenger’s seat and the back seat nearly to the roof. Walking behind the car, the bumper was plastered with half a dozen stickers declaring sympathy for a predictably grouped set of political and social causes. For my present purposes, whether or not these political causes veered Right or Left does not much matter.

Joshua Gibbs May 9, 2019

Parent: I was wondering what adjustments you were planning on making to your classroom in light of that recently published study on olfactory learning?

Gibbs: Recently published study on what now?

Parent: Olfactory learning. Smell-based learning. We’ve known for years how deeply the sense of smell is linked to memory. It turns out that students remember far more when teachers integrate smell into their lessons.

Gibbs: Could you give me an example of ways teachers are integrating smell into lessons?