Festina Lente: Make Haste Slowly

Educators at Immanuel Lutheran School (ILS) are noted for the ways they have been cultivated by the liberal arts and Lutheran catechesis.  These two cultivating forces have shaped their souls, mind and character so that they are fully-developed educators characterized by a Christian humanitas that is captivating and contagious.  They continually pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, and recognize these as gifts from God.  Students love them and naturally want to emulate them.

Faculty seek wisdom, eloquence, and virtue, and to cultivate these in their students. Teachers at ILS recognize that they are sinful and are hopeless without Christ crucified. They hold students accountable for this shared human state, direct them to repentance, and forgive them.

ILS educators display training in the liberal arts and are always learning. This year, ILS teachers are holding 8 all-faculty meetings to discuss and reflect upon the 8 Essential Principles. The topic for the first session was Festina Lente: make haste slowly.

Faculty were asked in advance to meditate on the following question, and we’d love to hear your reflections on this as well: What has the process of mastering a new skill or area of knowledge looked like in your life? Or perhaps, what has mastering a new skill or area of knowledge in your life required?

After each session, we’ll be sharing a reflection from one of our teachers on the topic and the session to give you additional insight into how our teachers are learning throughout the year!

How many times did you hear as a child from a parent, teacher, or grandparent that “haste makes waste?” The implication being that work done in haste leads to poor results, possibly even unraveling the goal. Yet, we find ourselves rushing through our days to get ourselves out the door to work and back home again greeted by dirty dishes in the sink, socks lying on the floor, or soccer practice across town. This hasting leads us as educators at Immanuel to ask, how do we ensure our students are learning not only the minimum of subjects, but rather approaching mastery and love of learning?

In our most recent pedagogical professional development session, Ms. Kramer led us in exploring the first of eight essential principles of classical education by Dr. Christopher Perrin, “festina lente,” translated from Latin to mean “make haste slowly.” We examined symbolic pictures of this seemingly oxymoronic phrase before reflecting upon its meaning and application to our classroom. One image, a hare with a snail’s shell composing its posterior, we learned, is an old Roman symbol that many would have understood as “festina lente.” By focusing on this phrase and the idea it carries, we more deeply understand that teaching demands frequent review and questions that lead us to know a topic more fully. We might even realize at the end that we will never know all there is to know about a subject, and this ought to excite us! But we never cease to face the challenge of teaching our students to try and master what we ought to learn. As we contemplated “festina lente,” ironically, time seemed to hasten.
— Mrs. Molly Barnett, ILS 4th Grade & Lower School Lead Teacher