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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Sandra Fahy

Upper School History Teacher

Know Your Pelicans

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

I teach 9th Grade Foundations of World History, and several junior and senior electives, including Cultural AnthropologyScientific and Historical Origins of Race and GenderHistory of the Modern Middle East; and Genocide in the Modern World. I love teaching all of my electives, but I think I like Cultural Anthropology the most. This is partly because it's my background, but I also enjoy seeing students respond to a new disciplinary approach to studying the world. I love, too, reading their final projects, which are mini-ethnographic research projects on some aspect of New York City. Over the years, they've studied musicians in the subway, skateboarders' use of the built environment, and a fire station in Coney Island, among other topics. These projects can be really interesting.

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

I hope that they learn a little about perseverance and resilience when they experience setbacks or disappointments, and to realize that these disappointments aren't the end of the world. Instead, they're often the way we grow. Life is not always going to go the way we hope or want, but we usually come out ahead if we can learn from the lessons life gives us.

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

Not many people knew prior to my lecture that I was a child of the military or that I had lived in ten places by the time I was eighteen. But people also don't realize that growing up in the military was so much more than the constant moves. It also meant that my dad was regularly "on deployment" for six-month periods, and as a result, he missed many of the milestones of my childhood, including my high school graduation. Sometimes, we didn't even know where in the world he was because we couldn't know for security reasons. And these were the days before email. But this was our normal, and we never thought twice about it.

If you were to have an inspirational fridge magnet (and we're not saying you would), what would it say and why?

I actually have a fridge magnet that says, "It is what it is." It's a phrase my mom always says, and it's a good reminder to worry only about the things in life over which I have control.

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