This week's #FeatureFriday highlights Far Hills Upper School English Department Manager and Peregrine House Director, Emily Seelaus, who has been at Far Hills since 2015.
Emily currently teaches seventh and eighth grade English, is the English Department Manager, and the Peregrine House Director.
Q&A with Emily:
- How do you help facilitate incoming students' transition from fourth to fifth grade (Lower School to Upper School)?
- I am in close contact with the fourth-grade teachers during the year to make sure we are all coordinating curriculum. Additionally, I meet with fourth-grade parents to answer any questions and address any concerns. Alongside Natalie Young, we meet with the fourth graders in the spring to talk about English in Upper School and the summer reading expectations.
- Best advice to give a Lower School student who is going to be in Upper School next year?
- If you can be yourself and work hard every day, you will be successful.
- Your actions speak louder than your words.
- What do you find is the most rewarding part about teaching?
- Laughter. I love when colleagues, students, administrators laugh. I think every day at Far Hills is a success when I hear someone laugh: genuine from the heart laughter. There isn't enough of that in the world today.
- I feel like the gift that teaching gives is the ability to bear witness to students in those moments when they can genuinely be themselves. I see it when they are a dying Hamlet who has just been stabbed by Laertes in the Shakespeare Festival. I see it when students ask me how Anne Frank could be killed when she was so young. I see it when a student gets a math test back and celebrates getting a tough question right. I see it when they are proud of the research paper they just handed in for history class. My time at Far Hills is filled with those moments, and I wouldn't give that up for anything.
- Favorite project you do with the students and why?
- I have two favorite projects: I love reading Anne Frank. It stuns me every year how much it affects the students. It reminds me that the students' ability to feel empathy is boundless. A young girl who lived 80 years ago in hiding in Amerstdam touches the students' hearts every year. I also love the Shakespeare Festival, even though I lose sleep over it every year. In the end, no matter what the circumstances, the students' ability to work with a difficult text and perform in front of an audience always amazes me!
Although we won't all be together this year in the PAC watching our eighth graders' performances, we are proud of their dedication and creativity for the 2021 festival. This year, students used their tech-savvy and imaginations to create interpretations that include reality TV shows and even ZOOM meetings.
Click here to view the 2021 Shakespeare Festival.