Mrs. Danielle Weirich on the nature and cultivation of a lifelong learning spirit
Mrs. Weirich has served as the seventh & eighth grade teacher at Coram Deo Academy since 2017. After graduating with a B.A. in History from Patrick Henry College, Danielle chose to continue her life-long learning through teaching. Her passion as a teacher in the Coram Deo School of Logic is to “turn heads” toward the perennial truth that God has chosen to reveal about Himself through and to His creation.
What’s the most important thing you do in a day?
My most important moments are spent building relationships. Whether at home or school, the journey of lifelong learning for me has always been about relationship with God and with the people around me.
What’s your educational background? How has it shaped your thoughts as a teacher?
My educational background has always been distinctly Christian, classical, and parent-directed. In my earlier years, my parents actively took ownership of my education. In fact, they spearheaded the renaissance of home education to preserve the right of all parents to direct their children’s education. As a student learning primarily at home, my education walked a classical path of restful learning. Growing up a voracious reader, I saw the world through many eyes – and the views were never precisely the same. The conversations between authors were sometimes harmonic, sometimes dissonant. So I would ask, what is the truth? Finding the truth of a matter, I found, takes a lot of work, and a lot of conflict. To learn, in other words, is a matter of patience and tenacity.
Learning with patience and tenacity, however, is not sufficient in Christian education. Truth should be not only discovered but also shared. My undergraduate education at Patrick Henry College gave me ample opportunities to engage students and teachers in the process of answering the question, “So what is the truth?” Collecting, debating, and persuading – all were intrinsic parts of building a coherent system of beliefs within a community of learners.
As a teacher at Coram Deo Academy, I desire to “turn heads” toward the perennial truth God has chosen to reveal about Himself through and to His creation. With the irreplaceable support of the parents, I seek to engage students who grow in patience, tenacity, and persuasiveness, students who become sturdy and lifelong learners.
What brought you to Coram Deo and what encourages you to stay?
I’m at Coram Deo for the same reason parents are at Coram Deo: our children! I want my children to be raised in a community that encourages them both academically and spiritually. For that reason, I sought a classical Christian school to help provide that community. Teaching allows me to leverage my hands-on, parent-directed, academically rigorous background to build that community as both a parent & teacher.
What’s an activity or experience you share with your students that’s unique to your classroom?
In my classroom, students spend a great deal of time learning how to think through ideas or events using Aristotle’s common topics: definition, comparison, circumstance, relation, and testimony. Students who learn to ask themselves these questions, which are “common” to all “topics,” move rapidly toward lifelong, independent learning.
Is there a concept or theme across the courses you teach that you want students to remember?
Of course, but the problem is limiting myself to one! A few of the ideas that I hear myself echoing include: “Every man is a student, and every man a teacher,” “Fear of man is the enemy of learning,” and “The wise man discerns the principle from its application. Seek the former, & respect the latter.”
What advice do you have for families who have just learned about CCE?
The direction of your children’s education is the holiest of tasks. As the Shema exhorts, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6). Surround your children with people who love God and love learning!