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WHS English Teacher Ms. Pelletier Focuses on Writing

by:  Johanna Pellegrino

When WHS English teacher Ms. Pelletier isn’t teaching, she’s most likely writing. Not only does she teach three different English courses, including Creative Writing and Reflective Writing, she is also writing her own memoir.  After years of writing and playing around with short stories, she’s grown to consider writing her second job rather than a hobby.  She’s discovered memoir writing to be “[her] jam,” citing a general, “realness” that makes memoir writing stand out to her.

Ms. Pelletier started teaching when she was a child by gathering the neighborhood kids and making them sit around a chalkboard in the garage of her childhood home. She would also  “teach” her mother  on a smaller chalkboard she insisted on carrying around.  However, she didn’t realize she wanted to go into teaching until after she had graduated college and was working at a radio station.

Knowing she wanted to teach something that has to do with ELA, she entered into the world of teaching as a middle school substitute. “It was horrendous,” she describes. She shares that there was just a lack of respect, which she believes had to do with the arching opinion of subs in that district.

After that experience, Ms. Pelletier asked some people who she knew worked in education for advice. She recalls one specific conversation with someone who told her flat out, “You don’t want to teach middle school. You want to teach high school.” And that is where she wound up:  teaching high school English.

This year, Ms. Pelletier has started teaching part-time so she can work more seriously on her writing. With this adjustment, she’s found that she now has free time, something she had always dedicated to writing in the past. With this newly discovered leisure time, you might find Ms. Pelletier engaging in a variety of different activities, including hiking, cooking, enjoying a nap, or reading with a cup of tea.

In her 15 years of teaching, she has discovered that helping students find their voice in their writing is what she loves most about teaching. When asked her least favorite part of teaching she laughs before replying with “grading,” which she considers, “a necessary evil.”

Although she enjoys teaching all her classes, her favorite is Reflective Writing, a course that she created and affectionately calls her baby.

Ms. Pelletier also shared her cure for the dreaded “night before the due date” writer’s block: “Go back in time about a week,” she says. If you can’t do that, she recommends thinking about the details you’ve noticed in the book, and, keeping in mind the question, theorizing based on those details.

er piece of advice to high school students is “One failure … is not the end of the world.”  


One Response to WHS English Teacher Ms. Pelletier Focuses on Writing

  1. Gabrielle Delgado

    October 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This was very well written! It is great to see that we have many writing classes and electives here at WHS where students can expand their writing skills and learn from knowledgeable teachers like Ms. Pelletier.

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