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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Elena Megalos

Middle School Core Teacher

Know Your Pelicans

What do you teach? What is one of your favorite parts of the curriculum? 

I teach 6th Grade Core (English and History), which explores the Middle Ages across three regions: the Islamic World, Medieval Europe, and Classical China. The scope is somewhat daunting — how do you compress a thousand years into nine months? — but it’s a humbling opportunity to consider patterns and connections on a zoomed-out scale. I most enjoy the occasions we have to zoom back in and experience what’s lasted, be it a work of literature like the Arabian Nights stories or works of art like the unicorn tapestries. Living and teaching in New York City is a privilege because world-class cultural institutions like the Met and the Cloisters are a subway ride away. Our field trips enable us to connect with objects (and buildings) that have endured centuries and will outlast us. They bring the past to life and make it tangible.

What is something that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?

When my schedule permits, I’m a stop-motion animator. My short films have screened around the country and in a few international festivals.

What’s one thing you love about your colleagues? 

They are curious, engaging, and engaged. I feel as though I’m constantly learning from their knowledge, methods, and perspectives, both formally and informally. Though I often envy my students the opportunities they have at Packer, I recognize that teaching here is an opportunity to be back in school in the best possible way and to continue my own educational journey thanks to the people with whom I work. 

What is your favorite space on campus and why?

I love the Atrium with its beautiful blend of old and modern architecture, preferably first thing in the morning when the school is mostly empty. It’s a serene place to begin the day and check in with myself. I’m a Los Angeles native, so a daily view of trees that actually change with the seasons still goes a long way. I also teach in a windowless classroom and credit this bright space for staving off seasonal depression this past winter!

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