“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
I love the material I teach. I love the works that I’m dealing with day after day. And I find that you make very slow connections: teaching the same materials over the years, you start to make very simple (in the highest sense) connections – complex notions become simpler to you.
In teaching music, for example … for years you’re trying to teach the idea of, “What makes a nice line? What’s a musician thinking of when he writes a good line?” You try not to push it too hard because you can really ruin things if you push it too hard, but you just mention it to the students, and you think, “How can I put this into words?” And then one day it strikes you: “It’s change of direction. It’s something that changes direction multiple times.” And then you find yourself looking at trees or looking at crown molding, and you say, “It’s the same thing! That’s why we do that to doors! It’s just pleasing to us that things change direction.” So it’s connections like that I really love – the ones you come to over time.
I love the students. I love just spending time with them. I like the paradigm at Trinity that we think in terms of a coach with a team. Students and teacher have a common task, and we’re all in it together. And I love that. We’re all in this room for this hour, and we have something to accomplish, which is to study Descartes or whatever it is we’re reading, and we develop a real camaraderie over that.
The students do make these wonderful connections into things that you’ve been looking at for a long time and never understood. They see it when you can’t.
One example is from this year’s class reading Dante. In the anteroom of Dante’s Inferno are all the people who didn’t commit to evil or good. So heaven doesn’t want them and hell doesn’t want them. They’re just running around and they’re being stung by wasps. And we’ve always wondered: why are they being stung by wasps? And one of my boys this year said, “I think it’s because wasps are unfruitful: they don’t pollinate.” When I shared that observation with a colleague who’s studied Dante for years, he was astounded. Neither of us had ever thought of that before. So that’s a really great joy of teaching.
One of the fruits of the music program here is that the students sing. The boys of every age sing. They sing in harmony, and they’re unabashed. And I think that’s a real freedom. That’s a freedom that we’ve regained–a little pocket of freedom that somehow, in post-radio culture, America has lost. We make a very small inroad at Trinity. We’re graduating eleven, twelve boys each year, but still, there are seventy-five boys who will sing at morning prayer. I think that’s a contribution we make to our culture at large.