A Teacher’s Day in the Life - SLO Classical Academy
Inquire Visit Donate
San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
Subscribe to Down Home:

blog sponsors

A Teacher’s Day in the Life

{photos by Nick Stavros}

Our Day in the Life blog posts seem to be favorites around here, and for good reason – we enjoy getting a peek into each other’s home days and relating to the highs and lows of this wonder-filled SLOCA life. 

For Teacher and Staff Appreciation week, we thought we’d flip it, and highlight a day in one of our teacher’s lives to give our parents and readers a look into the classroom! Nick Stavros (Lower Middle School teacher on both tracks) is our first brave volunteer, and we are excited to share one of his days with you.

We are so thankful for our incredible teachers, and after reading this we think you will appreciate them even more! 

7:43 am

It’s Wednesday. My brakes squeak as I park in my usual spot in the SLOCA lot. I unlock my classroom and check on the froggies (named Julián Carax and Radagast the Brown) to make sure they have clean water and that the timer for their lamp is working as it should. The frogs clamber and climb about their miniature ruins. 

I write the day’s agenda and the day’s Latin phrase on the white board. I love those phrase-a-day calendars. Later the class will discuss “Dubitando ad veritatem pervenimus,” which means that “by doubting we arrive at the truth.” 

Like a bee, I bumble around the classroom and get the “Knight of the Day’s” coat of arms up. Each day a student gets to sit in the ugly old armchair, which became known as “the ochre throne” last year. 


Nervous for the day to begin in earnest, I grab the Latin root of the week (Intellegere: to understand) and run down to the courtyard to grab the microphone for flag salute. I love the low clouds of the morning, and the students running around and playing tag games until Ross Landgreen and I blow our whistles. 


Students are eager to talk about the exciting new stuff in their lives as we walk to math class. We get to work with ratio and proportion, and persevere. We tackle word problems that could make a grown warrior cry. After we accomplish our mission in the Singapore Level 6 textbook and workbook, we play Math Dice for a short time. There are many ways to win, and students impress me with their creative and correct answers. (In this game, you roll two twelve-sided dice and multiply them. Their product is the “target number.” Then you roll three six-sided dice and use those three numbers any way you can to get the target number, or as close to it as possible. You can use any operation, and exponents too.) 


Changing of the guard. 


Students have parked their massive rolling backpacks by the astroturf in the back yard. Core class starts. We discuss that Latin phrase about sometimes it requires doubt to make progress. Some students disagree. We dissect and diagram innocent sentences in Fix-It. It’s challenging, but like Mongol messengers galloping across seas of grass, the students ride onward. 

The day becomes a wonderful blur of history, literature, and writing – all connected. We make a keyword outline to critique the story of Hamlet. 

Then, a few students share their Home Reading Assignments about Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This time around they are proud to unveil clever acrostic poems, silly but accurate clerihews, elaborate mobiles, dioramas of scenes from the play, small jars transformed into characters, and wonderful drawings all around. There’s a brief recess to go run around the field and be humans in the sunshine, and right after that, the next students are eager to share their HRA’s. (Some of my track B students call them “hurrahs,” which I think is nicely enthusiastic.) 


Lunch! At the lunch tables, in the blink of an eye, everyone engulfs their meals and runs to the field, which becomes a Capture the Flag battlefield. 


Scholarly life resumes, and students now covered in sweat return to Room 12 and turn on the two fans. 

Hamlet has been a big part of our class lives lately. Students have been practicing reciting soliloquies, writing parodies of “To be or not to be…” and acting out a short version of the play with a few swords and assorted props. A few students complain that “The 15 Minute Hamlet” cuts out too much good stuff from the original Shakespeare.

The ghost of King Hamlet turns out to be an extremely scary stage presence. Zach makes a very sneaky Polonius. Karena is Hamlet clad all in black. Gavin is in charge of sound effects. And for some reason a monkey appears as one of those props in the hands of Nate. 

Even though the kids of two separate tracks don’t get to spend much time together, they still inspire each other. They ooh and aww in admiration of the work on the walls done by students of The Other Track. And today I share a Track B soliloquy with the students of Track A. It is a piece sparked by Ethan Scott, and then embellished by the whole class. 


A snake, or not a snake–that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The pains of outrageous snakebites

Or to take arms against a sea of serpents

And by not buying them, forget them. To snake, to be snakeless–

No more–and buy a snake to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That snakelessness is heir to. 'Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To snake, to slither–

To be a pet owner–perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub… 

My valiant core students pack their bags and prepare to go forth into their long afternoon. I am grateful for their innovation, diligence, perseverance, and gratitude. Many students call out “Thanks Mr. Stavros!” as they head eagerly to their next class. 

1:00 pm

Jen Wright and I plan in the teacher’s lounge. We fill in the 35 or so boxes on the grid for the next week, and sometimes the grids for following weeks. Sometimes after we’re done teaching, we mountain bike. 


Later, at my home desk.

The cat, Oliver, has been fed, petted, and brushed. The wind is rustling the leaves, and it’s a peaceful afternoon.

Lately I have been making and weaving jump rings for chain mail. I’m hoping to have a shirt finished by history day. Fortunately, audio books exist; now I can read with my ears while my hands are busy. And it’s fun hearing our IEW vocab words appear in all of the books I’ve been reading lately, especially “rebuke.” That word is all over the place, and I hadn’t noticed it at all before teaching writing at SLOCA. 

Thank you SO much, Nick, for taking the time to thoughtfully write down these moments that make up a school day, and for sharing them with us on the blog. It’s truly inspiring to hear you talk about your students, their work, the classroom vibe, and your own love of learning! It is infectious. Our teachers are amazing role models, aren’t they? We hope to shower them with appreciation this week – leave your comments below! 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *