By FRANKLIN NORTON
If you’ve been on Facebook in the past couple months, odds are you have seen a video circulating news feeds about our school. This video highlights our time spent working from home, after COVID-19 and government guidelines restricted us from meeting in person.
Although our year ended in a way we could have never expected, we were moved by the way we as a school community faced the challenge head on, never quitting, but rather, adjusting, innovating and moving forward.
Our First Grade Teacher, Mindy Stanley, said it well as we embarked on uncharted territory: online, classical, k-12 education. Stanley, who has been teaching since 1975, has watched the world of education change rapidly around her, but this pandemic was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Because she loves her students, however, she worked harder than ever to continue the good work she’s been doing for years.
“And now I’ll learn to ‘Zoom’,” Stanley wrote, “because as Elizabeth Elliot so aptly puts it, ‘you do the next thing’…it might not be the ideal way to operate a first-grade classroom, but for now it is ‘the next thing’. And by His power and might He will equip us all as we move through this pandemic.”
Our teachers and staff continued teaching and loving students, in whatever ways we could, because to us this is our call. For those of us who work at Covenant, a classical education means something.
“We teach differently because we have a different perspective on the Child,” write Dr. Gene Edward Veith and Andrew Kern. We believe that she is nothing less than the Divine Image, an icon of the invisible God. She must not, therefore, be taught following techniques developed to instruct beasts. She must not be reduced to mere chemical responses to electrical stimuli. She must be taught personally, in relationship. We teach different things because we have loftier goals for the child. We govern differently because we have a more serious perception of our task. We assess our work differently because we have higher standards. We confront the challenge of communication because we don’t conform to the spirit of the age.”
Classical education has endured for centuries because of this philosophy, a deeply rooted belief that every child is made in the image of the Creator. In pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty, we cannot allow any force in this world to get in our way. For centuries, we have kept moving forward, not conforming to the spirit of the age, but instead focusing on being transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2).
We will continue this good work because we love our students, and desire for them to grow in wisdom and virtue. We pray they learn to stand firm in a rapidly changing world with rapidly changing ideas. We love our students deeply. Because this love is rooted in God’s own love for us, and because our education philosophy is rooted in this love, we know that we can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. (1 Cor. 13:7).