Joshua Gibbs Sep 23, 2020

What I learned from John Milton, master psychologist.

Student: It’s one in the morning. I’m never going to commit all these formulas to memory.

Satan: That’s true.

Student: I’m going to fail the geometry test tomorrow.

Satan: That’s not necessarily true.

Student: What do you mean?

Satan: Just enter the formulas into your watch. During the test, check your watch if you need to.  

Student: But that would be cheating.

Joshua Gibbs Sep 20, 2020

When I am offered a hand to shake, I shake it. Granted, only a few close friends still present their hands for shaking, but I wouldn’t turn down the hand of a stranger, either. I didn’t know how much I liked handshakes until people began offering me their elbows back in March— which I found odd at first, but now find genuinely dispiriting. I say this not to shame anyone who has offered me an elbow in the last six months, because a number of kind and generous people have good-naturedly presented me an elbow to bump since the pandemic began. They meant well, I know.

Tag Green Sep 17, 2020

I ran across a quote recently that has been widely—and falsely—attributed to Theodore Roosevelt:  “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”  The quote was actually referenced by Roosevelt in his autobiography, but the person he quotes is one Squire Bill Widener, a community servant who lived a rather obscure, but nonetheless valuable, life. This quote has been precisely what I needed to hear as school has begun.

Austin Hoffman Sep 15, 2020

Is teaching an art or a science? Such a question seeks to determine if there is a repeatable method to be followed in teaching—a formula to be applied—or if teaching is a matter of intuition, judgment, and inspiration. If a science governed by rigid rules, then anyone could be a teacher so long as he could learn and apply the technique. If an art, then every teacher must dedicate himself to his subject, audience, and craft in order to cultivate mastery. Teaching is a challenging profession requiring long study and practice. 

CiRCE Staff Sep 11, 2020

This week, CiRCE podcasts contemplated Marilynne Robinson's novel, Home, a proverb from Dante, Act I of The Merchant of Venice, the active life and the contemplative life, ways of adapting to the various needs of individual students, and a new CiRCE publication. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review, wherever you like to listen to podcasts!

William Goodwin Sep 11, 2020

In his work Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis reminds us that we are untrue beings veiled even from our own sight by all manner of things. The reason Orual is incapable of hearing from the gods is because she is not speaking truthfully; the reason she cannot see the gods is because she does not yet have a true face. Orual realizes this and lets her audience in on this revelation: “I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean?

Joshua Gibbs Sep 10, 2020

As the father of a fourth grader and a sixth grader, I have learned to take the reports my children offer about school with a grain of salt. Occasionally, my children lie. At other times, they embellish and exaggerate. They do a slapdash job paraphrasing the words of others. They add details and nuances they wish were true. Their summaries often leave out significant facts.

Matthew Bianco Sep 8, 2020

"By gazing on and contemplating things in a regular arrangement and always in the same condition, that neither do nor suffer injustice among themselves, all disposed in order in accord with reason, they imitate these things and take on their likeness as much as possible. Or do you imagine there’s another way for anyone not to imitate whatever he dwells with and admires” (Republic, Book VI, 500c)?

We become what we behold, it is said. Which is, of course, a wittier and and more quotable way of saying what Socrates said above.

Joshua Gibbs Sep 8, 2020

Parent: How was school?

Student: Fine. How was your day?

Parent: Fine. What happened at school?

Student: Subjects, lunch. Same stuff that happens every day.

Parent: You always give rather vague answers when I ask about school.

Student: That’s because the questions you ask are rather vague.

Parent: I asked what happened at school. How is that vague?

Student: I answered, didn’t I? Subjects, lunch.

Parent: A two-word answer?

Student: For a four-word question.

Parent: Careful.

CiRCE Staff Sep 4, 2020

This week, CiRCE podcasts contemplated Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, hunger for knowledge, Act I of The Merchant of Venice, the active life and the contemplative life, ways to adapt a truly classical education to a modern system, and a new CiRCE publication. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review, wherever you like to listen to podcasts!