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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Sadelle Chain

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, a Humanities course that combines our study of English and History.  We study the Middle Ages (500 - 1500 C.E.) with a specific focus on the Islamic World, Medieval Europe, and Classical China. One of my favorite parts of the curriculum is witnessing students make thoughtful connections between the literature we are studying and our History content.  For example, we read Beowulf (a young adult version, not written in Old English!) while studying Medieval Europe, and we read One Thousand and One Arabian Nights during our study of the Islamic World. I love when students connect themes that we are observing in literature — such as the portrayal of women, the intersection of fear and power, etc. — to the historical and current events we are studying.  It’s exciting to watch the students make these connections, and I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed teaching Humanities throughout my teaching career.  The disciplines of English and History complement each other so well, especially in these middle school years when students are so eager to find meaningful connections in their work. 

Besides your subject, what’s something you hope to teach your students?  

I really hope my students learn to value empathy and the ability to critically analyze a situation from one another’s perspective, both on an academic level and also on a personal level. Additionally, I hope they gain a genuine appreciation and intellectual curiosity for religions and cultures beyond their own. Throughout 6th Grade Core, students are introduced to a wide variety of religions throughout our studies, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, and Judaism. Students often make meaningful connections between this historical content and current events, such as critically analyzing Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism in our news today. In both the intellectual and personal realms, I hope my students will continue to always ask themselves the questions we base our course on: Whose perspective am I hearing? Whose perspective may be left out? How does this event connect to other events I’ve studied, and why is this meaningful?

What’s one thing you love about your colleagues? 

There’s so much I love about my colleagues, especially the many ways they inspire me to continue to grow as an educator. Beyond the intellectual rigor, I also appreciate the genuine love and thoughtfulness they demonstrate for our students, both in and out of the classroom. I feel grateful to be part of a teaching community that continues to challenge students academically, while also placing equal value on the often more intangible social-emotional aspects of learning.   

What is your favorite space on campus and why?

I love the Chapel, both for its beauty and for the many rituals and traditions of our school year that occur there. From our opening Convocation, to the Winter Sings, to celebrating our 8th Graders on Moving Up Day, I love how the rhythm of our school year is marked by the many traditions we share in the chapel. I’ve also found myself really moved by the Chapel Stories students and faculty have been courageous to share, and for the standing ovations that follow them. It’s wonderful being part of a community where there is such genuine support for one another. On a lighter note, I’m a fan of our “Minute to Win It” contests in the Chapel; I love 200+ Middle School students screaming in excitement together, as long as it’s not in my classroom!  

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