Tom measures a class not by the amount of content he covers (though that is important on some level) but by the depth of interest and involvement he experiences from his students. When students “own” the content being discussed, when they show genuine wonder in the topics under consideration, not for their grade in the course but for the learning itself— it is hard to beat that. Literature and history are already full of life and fascination. Tom serves to facilitate the interaction between the students and the content so that over time they discover the depth of wonder already present in the books they read and the history they learn. Humor always helps, as do good stories and analogies!
Tom laments how little today’s culture assumes students are able to accomplish. So he absolutely loves that Wilson Hill not only assumes students are capable of excellent academic work, but that as a faculty we are committed to encouraging students to realize their potential in learning. Additionally, he does not see teaching as simply passing along information but as a dynamic human relationship with young people that is aimed at their growth and ultimate flourishing in Christ.
Dr. Vierra holds a doctorate in philosophy from Arizona State University and has been involved in classical education since 2003. In addition to having taught courses in classical literature, philosophy, writing, history, logic and rhetoric, he has also helped to start two different classical schools. He and his wife, Tracey, homeschool their seven children on their small farm among the beautiful rolling hills of middle Tennessee. Tom and Tracey share a love of Dickens novels, great books on education and anything that Wendell Berry writes.
I have always appreciated the various comments of gratitude from my students over the years, but none more than when a student shared with me that I modeled for him the kind of man and learner he would like to become some day. That will stay with me for a long time.