The Teachers Institute

About the Teachers Institute

The St. John’s College Teachers Institute provides a convenient way for educators to continue to learn and grow.  Every year, our Teachers Institute provides opportunities for educators to read great books, experience the collaborative discussion-based learning at St. John’s, and exchange ideas with a network of educators who value the life of the mind as much as you.   

Both our on-campus and online programs are made possible by the St. John’s Graduate Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The support from the National Endowment for the Humanities comes in the form of their We the People program, which is designed to encourage and enhance the teaching, study, and understanding of American history, culture, and democratic principles. 

Upcoming Virtual Programs

Plato’s Meno 

Online Saturday Seminar: Saturday, November 13, 2021
Register: Registrations are reviewed on a rolling basis and space is limited.

Register Here for Plato's Meno

What does one expect to get out of their education? How would you know whether your education is a good one, if the ultimate purpose of your education remains deeply ambiguous? Return to the foundational questions and ideas of your profession, and explore, along with your peers, what it means to teach and to learn. 

Teachers joining us for our online Saturday seminar will meet from 2 until 4 p.m. ET on November 13 to discuss the text in a small, interactive class led by St. John’s faculty. The seminar will be followed by a discussion about ways in which what has been learned and discussed might be integrated into your own classrooms. There is no cost.

Dogen, Instructions for Tenzo

Online Saturday Seminar: Saturday, December 4, 2021
Register: Registrations are reviewed on a rolling basis and space is limited.

Register Here for Instructions for Tenzo

In the thirteenth century, Zen master Dogen—perhaps the most significant of all Japanese philosophers, and the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen sect—wrote a practical manual of Instructions for the Zen Cook. In drawing parallels between preparing meals for the Zen monastery and spiritual training, he reveals far more than simply the rules and manners of the Zen kitchen; he teaches us how to live.  

Teachers joining us for our online Saturday seminar will meet from 2 until 4 p.m. ET on December 4 to discuss the text in a small, interactive class led by St. John’s faculty. The seminar will be followed by a discussion about ways in which what has been learned and discussed might be integrated into your own classrooms. There is no cost.  

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass

Online Saturday Seminar: Saturday, February 5, 2022
Register: Registrations are reviewed on a rolling basis and space is limited.

Register Here for the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Generally considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a classic of America literature. It is not only one of the most famous slave narratives written during that period, but challenges readers to consider the nature of oppression, ignorance, and the path that leads towards true freedom.   

Teachers joining us for our online Saturday seminar will meet from 2 until 4 p.m. ET on February 5 to discuss the text in a small, interactive class led by St. John’s faculty. The seminar will be followed by a discussion about ways in which what has been learned and discussed might be integrated into your own classrooms. There is no cost. 

Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko 

Online Saturday Seminar: Saturday, April 23, 2022
Register: Registrations are reviewed on a rolling basis and space is limited

Register Here for Essays in Idleness

While he lived in turbulent times, the Buddhist priest Kenkō met the world with a measured eye. Kenkō took refuge in the pleasures of solitude. Written between 1330 and 1332, Essays in Idleness is a Japanese-Buddhist reflection on life, nature, and philosophy. His brief writings, ranging in focus from politics and ethics to nature and mythology, mark the crystallization of a distinct Japanese principle: that beauty is to be celebrated, though it will ultimately perish. Through his appreciation of the world around him and his keen understanding of historical events, Kenkō conveys the essence of Buddhist philosophy and its subtle teachings for all readers.   

Teachers joining us for our online Saturday seminar will meet from 2 until 4 p.m. ET on April 23 to discuss the text in a small, interactive class led by St. John’s faculty. The seminar will be followed by a discussion about ways in which what has been learned and discussed might be integrated into your own classrooms. There is no cost

Our Method

As with all instruction at St. John’s, the Teachers Institute explores readings from original texts with all classes as seminar-style discussions. Our online classes are led by St. John’s faculty, include fewer than 20 students, and are interactive conversations. 

The Teachers Institute is part of St. John’s Graduate Institute, which has a long history of preparing teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In particular, the Graduate Institute offers the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, the Master of Arts in Eastern Classics, and the Liberal Arts Education Certificate, which is especially designed for teachers. Scholarships are available for educators, which can make the Graduate Institute tuition-free. 

Related Links:

Financial Aid for Teachers 

Master of Arts in Liberal Arts 

Master of Arts in Eastern Classics