Ms. Pekter loves words. One of the first things she does every morning when she arrives at school is to write the quotation for the day on her whiteboard. She chooses the quotations in advance, so it always amazes her how many times a specific quotation will be exactly right for that day’s lesson or current world event, or will resonate for one particular individual in the room. The way words frame our lives inspires Ms. Pekter as she learns, reads, and writes alongside her senior-level English and creative writing students: “The whole process of fiction is a mysterious one, and a writer . . . remains . . . a perpetual traveller” (Margaret Laurence, Heart of a Stranger). As Ms. Pekter and her students travel through readings chosen together, her classroom becomes a place for dynamic discussion and reflective writing.
Many of her favourite lessons revolve around texts that connect to other disciplines and courses: her English 11 students read Night and The Diary of Anne Frank as they’re studying WWII in social studies so they understand both the personal and political toll of the war, while her Grade 12 students are intrigued by the way Barbara Kingsolver weaves together ecology and economics in her essays. The projects Ms. Pekter assigns showcase student voices in unique ways and she always encourages her students to make each project truly their own. Above all, however, being able to write well and to read with discernment are key goals of Ms. Pekter’s English classes.
Why SMS: “A long time ago Jane Austen said, ‘It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.’ Here at St. Margaret’s our girls do so much and they do it well. And once they graduate, they do even more. To be part of that kind of energetic and energizing community inspires those of us who work with these amazing young women to do our best too.”