“The teachers at Trinity have a true love for the subjects that they teach, and really want you to excel at school. It’s so refreshing to have teachers who want you to learn, not memorize or know on a surface level”Trinity Student
Featured Faculty Member
When I visited Trinity several years ago, what I noticed first was the good-humored but serious approach the students took to their classes. I sat in an 11th grade seminar in Humane Letters and listened to the girls tackle the discussion of censorship in Plato’s Republic. There were about fifteen of them around the table, and each one of them participated. The teacher sometimes asked a question, or suggested returning to a particular point; the girls themselves, flipping pages and jotting notes in their copies, offered thoughts and puzzlements, elucidated their ideas, disagreed or requested clarification. They sometimes stumbled over each other in their wholeheartedness, but this was quickly resolved with a smile or a friendly gesture. The ease and trust the teacher and the students had created together gave each girl the freedom to think and also to listen. I knew I wanted to be a part of that.
Discussion in the classroom starts right away at Trinity. In 7th grade Ancient History, for example, we recently discussed how Solon’s debt cancellation and re-forming of the Athenian citizenry into classes based on income paved the way for democracy. We considered what eligibility to participate in the ekklesia changed for an ordinary Athenian. We worked through the possibilities which might arise from the citizenry’s division into economic rather than social classes. This is not quite a seminar, yet this classroom conversation, by inviting their active collaboration, teaches our young students more about the material than any lecture could. Perhaps more importantly, it teaches them that taking such a topic seriously, listening to their classmates, and examining their own ideas is fun. The Latin root of the word “student” is studere: to be eager for, to be enthusiastic about, to be devoted to, and (finally) to study.
I am lucky because I teach both middle school grades, but also juniors and seniors. In my remarks to new students as Dean of Girls, I often point out to them what a dear colleague once pointed out to me: the older girls, despite their many differences, are like sisters. They have grown together over the years, and possess in common a wealth of memories. This, too, is a beautiful part of our school. The other day, as I chatted with a group of senior girls, they told me about getting to know some of the 7th grade students. At Trinity, our seniors are responsible for introducing all new students to the rest of the student body, so they learn their names and spend some time with them right away. As we were talking about their ideas for activities with the new class, the seniors began to reminisce about their own first year. I listened and laughed along with them as they recounted their early trials and embarrassments, their nostalgia for old projects and celebrations, the humor of their teachers. It struck me as each girl described her recollection that all the others recognized and added to it. Here, our students know each other and in turn are known. Our hours spent together in study and friendship and prayer leave us their lovely gifts.