Once upon a time, Joshua Gibbs was a disinterested slacker who, despite attending a classical Christian school, learned little and cared even less for his studies. He was more interested in pop culture than Great Books and performed only the bare minimum to pass.
By age 27, however, he began work at a different classical institution, teaching the same literature he merely skimmed as a student. Ten years later, Gibbs has become a popular blogger and frequent speaker at education conferences. In this series of frank reflections on an unlikely career, Gibbs contemplates what it means to be a good teacher, how Great Books can change lives (and how one particular book, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, changed his), and why effective education is primarily concerned with the acquisition of virtue.
One part literary guidebook, one part personal memoir, and one part teacher’s manual, How to Be Unlucky presents a one-of-a-kind case for ancient ways of thinking about teaching in our contemporary world.
Every teacher has suffered the demoralizing realization that most students quickly forget the content they are taught. While most teachers are too embarrassed to admit this, their students know it is true, which leads many of them to think school is ultimately pointless. If a missed class period can be made up with five minutes of homework, isn't every hour-long class a fifty-five minute waste of time? This is not only the state of American public schools, but many classical schools as well.
But what if there was another way of conducting class? What if every class was vital, necessary, and worth going to? What if students no longer had to admit they couldn’t remember much of the material they studied in previous years? What if teachers could make the most of every minute of class time, including the first five minutes, when students are chatty and their brains are still stuck in their last subject?
In Something They Will Not Forget, Joshua Gibbs lays out a solution to these problems which is both elegant and effective. His solution caters to classical beliefs and presuppositions but is easily implemented in any classroom— elementary or secondary, public or private, traditional school or homeschool. If you have struggled with classroom management, dull exams (which you dread grading), or a feeling of helplessness when confronted by how quickly students forget, help is here.
for Modern Man
On every episode of Proverbial, Joshua Gibbs explores a single proverb, some old bit of wisdom, and tries to discern what it means for modern men.
Find it wherever you listen to podcasts.