Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Choosing the Best Teachers

By Susan Carrion, Director of Instruction


Recently I was directed to take note of the faculty page of the website of another school similar to Clapham. While introducing a school’s teachers and staff is not a rarity in our marketable world, the content of this website was interesting. At the end of the list of teachers’ names for specific grades was the following: “As a Great Books school, our teachers include the authors we read. Our mentors in the past have included: Aesop, Confucius, Plutarch, Marco Polo, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, William Shakespeare,” and so on. I’ve been pondering this inclusion for some time now, and my mental wanderings have led me to a few places which might be of importance to us in the educational world, which, we are all aware, goes well beyond the confines of the classroom.

Choosing the best teachers


At Clapham we also include books as part of our “faculty.” Our pedagogy puts the “text on top,” and relationships are built with the authors and his or her ideas, values, and teachings. We work diligently to glean from our chosen authors and poets characteristics of valor, kindness, courage, honesty, service, loyalty, etc., and to incorporate them into classroom discussions which are designed to settle into the fabric of who our students are and who they are becoming; who your children are and who they are becoming. In fact, Clapham’s pedagological mentor, Charlotte Mason, describes instruction by books this way in her volume Ourselves:

But how is the conscience to become instructed? Life brings us many lessons––when we see others do well, conscience approves and learns; when others do ill, conscience condemns. But we want a wider range of knowledge than the life about us affords, and books are our best teachers.

Literature, history, biographies, poetry, essays, drama, novels, autobiographies, the Bible, Plutarch, fairy tales, and others are all part of the heritage of material suited to the “instructing of conscience” and for building positive character into our students. It is from sources such as these we at Clapham draw. However, as students are challenged at school by being exposed to the good, true, and beautiful, we might consider as well other avenues which shape their lives: those of friends, family, media, technology, nutrition, physical exercise, experiences with nature, and cultural influences. What types of contributions are teachers from these avenues making into the fabric of our students, your children? Do we take the time and make the effort to examine this part of our children’s education, and deliberately make needed changes?


It is easy to dismiss certain aspects of our lives as non-threatening or innocent. Sometimes we feel we have no control over what goes on around us. Addressing some of these issues is difficult, and often counter-cultural, putting us into a minority which is not always comfortable. However, we are called to be different; to make an impact in our society which will change it for the better. What better place to begin than in our families and among our closest acquaintances? This generation of students and children can be instrumental in that change if we are diligent to do our jobs conscientiously and consistently.


These are not new thoughts, but the principles of vigilance we must maintain as educators and parents never become out-dated. The “teachers” to whom our children are exposed before and after school hours must be chosen and monitored carefully, thoughtfully, and responsibly. Think through your child’s day. The work done at Clapham is intentional and measured toward academic, social, and spiritual maturation in our students. The work done beyond the walls of school is equally as important, and must be just as intentional. Only with this united effort will we as a school, and you as parents and interested friends, be able to realize the common vision we have toward the growth of our students into young men and women of Godly character and purposeful lives.


Sign up

Recent Posts