Mara Borer currently teaches third grade at Great Hearts Irving Lower School. She actually began working for the Great Hearts after-school program while she was still an undergraduate at UD. The culture and curriculum of the school highly appealed to her, so after graduating she entered the Apprentice Teacher program, which allowed her to learn about teaching in a classical classroom from an experienced teacher. Nevertheless, she reports, “When I first started teaching at Great Hearts, I wasn't quite sure how to translate such intensive, high-level thinking into an elementary level education. Luckily, UD's Classical Ed program, as well as my apprentice teaching experience, has really transformed my concept of what a classical education is and what it can do for even our younger students!”
Before she began her undergraduate degree at UD, she had not had the opportunity to experience anything like the Great Books program or a Socratic seminar. Although she experienced classical education while studying at UD, she says, “I can honestly say that I never fully understand what classical education was about or exactly why it was so wonderful until I entered this program. The way I formulate questions about literature with my students, the manner in which I use Socratic questioning and ideals of beauty and order to teach math, even the way I interact with my students and help to learn about virtue—all of these things are informed by what I have learned in the program.”
So far, Mara has taken the “Ancient World” and “Medieval World” courses, two practicum seminars, and several courses focusing on the history and pedagogy of classical education. She is particularly excited to be taking a “fun” class this semester: "The Inklings!" While she says it's hard to choose a favorite reading, Mara has particularly enjoyed reading Plato's Phaedrus, Augustine's Confessions, and Charlotte Mason.
Mara recommends that every classical teacher consider UD’s program. While she says, “You should expect to be challenged by the workload,” she also describes her experience as “a funny phenomenon” because “during undergraduate, my classwork for UD felt like "work," while my part time job felt like a break from work. Now, it's reversed! I have a better understanding of study as a true leisure activity, and I have a greater appreciation for my studies than I ever did before.” She hopes that anyone considering the program will have a similar experience.