The goal of Rectory's elective program is to provide students with opportunities to explore their interests and passions through a variety of disciplines. Often times, Rectory teachers promote a passion of their own as an elective. When two such groups combine, there is truly magic in the air, as teacher and students interact in a way that epitomizes a love of learning; this winter's Magic: The Gathering, is one of those electives.
Mr. Dylan Klett, one of Rectory's first-year teachers, came to me early on and presented Magic: The Gathering as a possible elective offering. Admittedly unfamiliar with the game, I sought his perspective on the history and objective of the game. Just bringing up the topic brought a smile to Mr. Klett's face. An avid fan, he started playing Magic in 5th grade on the backseat of a school bus and has played ever since. In high school and college, Mr. Klett played in Magic tournaments across the country as well, with some success he humbly adds. When he came to Rectory Mr. Klett began to share his affinity for the game with his computer science students and those under his watch on weekly dorm parenting nights. As the fall waned and word of the Magic elective spread, I saw more and more students with these wildly intricate Magic cards laden with mythical creatures, symbols, and descriptive details illustrated brilliantly on their faces. As the winter began, there was a palpable excitement in the air about this game Mr. Klett was teaching; I had to see it for myself. Last week I visited his classroom and was riveted by the intense interactions I witnessed among his Magic students. In the classroom, everyone was deeply engaged in their game; disparate pairs focused on the intricacies of each turn with the hope of surviving the back and forth jousting of the game. So inspired by what I had seen, I was compelled to learn the game myself, and so set up a meeting with Mr. Klett on the first Monday of the break. We sat down in my office and he began to unravel the allure and the benefits of Magic the game. Best of all, we were interacting and communicating without the distraction or tug of technology. Within the game, there is math, critical thinking, reading, and an impressive array of vocabulary, all of which our students seamlessly adopt and manage as though experts in the field. The longer we played, the more I understood and appreciated not only the game, but Mr. Klett for bringing Magic to our students, a game where kids communicate, think, and negotiate their options in a fantasy world of fun and excitement. I left the meeting with my own treasure trove of cards (a gift from Mr. Klett) and that afternoon challenged my son Carson to a game. As soon as I got home, Carson and I sat down at the dining room table with nothing but each other, sharing in the back and forth that Magic promotes; a magical moment among father and son-thanks Mr. Klett!