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The Teaching Vocation Conference

The conference for me felt like coming home. The clarity of vision your teachers and leadership presented was not just words, but clearly flowed into your relationships between each other and with your students. The intentionality of your campus design, the rhythms of your school day, and your approach to curricular development came together in a way I can only call ‘organic,”’and it was refreshing to me, as someone who has spent 18 years as an educator-administrator, to witness the ideals I have so long espoused in action, in such a compelling way

Leaders Initiative Participant

The quality of events, touch-points with the exceptional faculty, the fellowship, and most importantly, the joyous venue of The Heights, made this the best conference which I have ever attended.

Conference Attendee

As The Heights School welcomed students back from break, the Forum was welcoming over fifty-five men to campus for the biennial Teaching Vocation Conference.

The conference opened with a reception at The Heights followed by Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente’s keynote address titled “Looking for a Few Good Men.” In his remarks, Alvaro considered our current cultural moment and why we need more good men to enter the classroom. As boys are often presented with unhealthy images of masculinity—either wimps or brutes, Don Juans or nice guys—Alvaro underscored the special need for men who embody and transfer a culture of service and loyalty, tenderness and strength to the next generation of boys, who will be future spouses, fathers, leaders, and priests.

During the following two days, attendees participated in a mix of lectures, panels, and breakout sessions aimed at presenting both the ideals and the practical realities of the profession—all while enjoying good company and good food. The speakers helped attendees see teaching as a natural extension of the vocation of fatherhood, showing them both why and how the work of a teacher consists of assisting parents in the “completion of Creation,” as one speaker put it. Moreover, attendees were challenged to consider the professional nature of the calling to teach, which lies somewhere between that of a doctor (who heals the body) and that of a minister (who heals the soul). Because the conference was held during a normal school week, a key component of the event was also showing participants the daily life of a school in action, especially through classroom observations.

Among the participants were also school leaders, ten of whom are participating in this year’s Leader Initiative, a program of professional formation and mentoring for new school leaders and the leaders of new schools. So in addition to the conference events, participants had the chance to network with headmasters from schools around the country.

About the Author

Nate Gadiano

Executive Director

Nate is the Executive Director of The Heights Forum. In addition to his work at the Forum, he has also taught Natural History in the Lower School and Writing Workshop in the Middle School; he currently leads a philosophy seminar for high school seniors.

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