One year ago, Danielle Garceau ’16 attended her third and final Clas­sical School Job Fair at Hillsdale College. Or so she thought.

After accepting a teaching job at Rocky Mountain Clas­sical Academy just two days after last year’s job fair, Garceau started teaching middle school math­e­matics in Col­orado Springs, Col­orado. Last week, she returned to campus for her fourth job fair. This time, however, the roles were reversed for Garceau and the 16 other alumni who returned to work Hillsdale’s ninth Clas­sical School Job Fair on Feb. 23 and 24. A total of 46 schools were rep­re­sented, and 133 stu­dents inter­ested in clas­sical school teaching attended.

Garceau | Courtesy

Earlier this month, Garceau approached Chris­tianna Fogler — her school’s head­master — and asked if she could attend the job fair.

“I wasn’t even sup­posed to be here,” Garceau said. “I told her that I would love to go back because I know so many people who want to go into teaching, and she said, ‘Oh my gosh, yes, why didn’t I think of this first? You’re going.’ But it’s so weird. I feel like I’m here as a student.”

Since her junior year of high school, Garceau has known she wanted to teach. When she arrived at Hillsdale as a freshman, however, she didn’t know the college had elim­i­nated its edu­cation major.

“I almost trans­ferred,” Garceau said. “But I talked to people and they said, ‘No, you want to be a teacher here.’ The people who are here who will help you with teaching all believe in Hillsdale and the clas­sical edu­cation.”

Garrett Holt ’14 — who returned for his second Clas­sical Job Fair last week — was a history major, and although he said it’s often assumed history majors will teach, Holt’s “epiphany moment” hap­pened three years ago, as a senior attending the clas­sical school job fair.

“I remember coming to the job fair and talking with all of these prin­cipals or teachers about edu­cation and history and learning and lit­er­ature and all of these things that I love to talk about,” Holt said. “I realized this is what I could spend the rest of my life doing.”

Holt accepted a fifth-grade teaching job at the Atlanta Clas­sical Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, two weeks after the job fair. Holt’s friend Aaron Schepps signed on in Atlanta just as Ter­rence Moore, former pro­fessor of history and current advisor of the Barney Charter School Ini­tiative at Hillsdale, signed on to serve as prin­cipal.

“I was deciding between a couple schools further north… Aaron told [Dr. Moore] I hadn’t signed any­where yet, and so I received an email from him asking if I’d be inter­ested in coming to Atlanta,” Holt said. Three years later, Holt returned to work his second Clas­sical School Job Fair as an alumnus.

Garceau and Holt said each of their charter schools makes a serious effort to mold well-rounded stu­dents. In addition to mandatory core classes in sub­jects like Latin, logic, and rhetoric, Garceau said she spends 20 minutes every Monday teaching her homeroom class about char­acter.

“We’ve done a lot on bul­lying, a lot on stereo­types, empathy, com­passion towards others, and dif­ferent types of mindsets to help yourself grow,” Garceau said. “We say, ‘We want to make you smart and we want you to know all these things, but we also want you to be a good person.’”

Holt said his fifth graders learn a lot about char­acter through the lit­er­ature they read. When his class read “Don Quixote,” Holt said his stu­dents dis­liked Don Quixote in the beginning of the book, but were “visibly sad” when he was ridiculed later on.

“I asked, ‘Why are you guys sad?’ And a little girl raised her hand and said, ‘Well, Mr. Holt, I think it’s because we’ve spent so much time with him and he’s become our friend by this point. We know him and we see his thoughts and we under­stand him,’” Holt said. “We want to show them that you need to be able to under­stand everyone with that same com­pre­hension. You should take what you’re learning in lit­er­ature and apply it to real life.”

Holt said many of his 9- to 11-year-old stu­dents are already con­cerned about getting into a good college, so it’s important to show them the real meaning of learning.

“It is getting them to realize there’s some­thing inher­ently good about learning. It’s not just because you can get into a good college,” Holt said. “Part of it is saying that we are here not only to know facts, but to under­stand. They’re so used to the idea of the test. We want them to learn about human nature — about the good things.”

Senior Hannah Fleming, who attended her fourth job fair this year, said she’s been drawn to teaching since she was a little girl admiring her ele­mentary school teachers. Fleming said she has nar­rowed down her prospects for a job, and that she would like to teach at a Lutheran clas­sical school.

“I love the fact that you’re edu­cating a whole person,” Fleming said. “You’re not just teaching them to be good at math or how to read … With the Christian school side, I like that you’re edu­cating that you’re a sinner and Jesus died for you. I like that you can bring in the faith aspect, as well, because just virtue alone isn’t going to get you very far.”

Fleming said she wants to teach ele­mentary school, so she paired her edu­cation minor with an English major. While Holt grad­uated with a history degree, Garceau majored in math­e­matics (she said was the “weird person” in high school whose favorite class was AP Cal­culus) and vol­un­teered at Mary Randall Preschool every week. Although she orig­i­nally wanted to teach kinder­garten, Garceau said she is able to teach seventh and eighth grade math without a teaching license. Garceau said she has loved teaching middle school, to her own sur­prise.

“I was expecting terrors, to be honest, but they’re great,” Garceau said of her pre-teen stu­dents. “They’re sassy, but they can take the sass back.”

Holt said he is sure he wants to stay in the edu­cation field, and he has loved teaching fifth grade.

“I love how much you can influence the kids at lower primary or sec­ondary school level,” Holt said. “I want to stay in edu­cation to some degree, but I don’t know what that looks like. I love teaching, but I would love to be a dean of stu­dents, or a vice prin­cipal.”