Peter J. Elliott

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Peter J. Elliott has worked with adolescents for the past 15 years as an English teacher and social justice educator. He currently lives in the suburbs of Houston, where he teaches high school English at an independent, college preparatory school. After completing a bachelor’s degree in English at Amherst College, he completed a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. A fan of fairy tales, he loves sharing good stories with his two children at home.


Pages authored by Peter J. Elliott

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Students Organize a Peace Rally, Get Inspired Every autumn, on an evening around dusk, a luminary-lit path appears on campus. Dozens of students gather for inspiration in their social justice...
Working Out the Kinks of the Flipped Classroom I don’t often lecture in class. In general, I prefer to run more of a seminar-like discussion. Teaching British literature this year, however,...
Keep the Impact of Words in Clear View “So you’re calling us racists,” students accused. I was starting to feel a little exasperated. “No, I’m not. I’m saying that you have created an...
Finding a Place to Belong Taylor is the first baseman on our team. He’s quick and alert on the field, a celebrated athlete. He also loves musicals, and often repeats phrases...
A Day of Silence that Left a Lasting Impact Four years ago, we held our first Day of Silence, an annual event where students at schools across the country take a vow of silence in support of...
Standing on the Side of Truth Last spring, our high school performed The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials (also an allegory of the witch hunts of...
Being Honest About Past Intolerance Trey loved to challenge whatever rule he could in class. He was the student who would question every nuance of the dress code, just to see if the...
Students Require Explicit Acceptance Throughout the year there are opportunities for school dances. It could be homecoming, Sadie Hawkins or even a Halloween costume party. Students...
Literature Breaks the Silence of Privilege Silence. It can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome during a discussion of racism. This time the silence in the room follows a...
Move Beyond Policy to Practical Safe Space Anna quickly entered my freshmen English classroom when the third-period bell rang. She is no longer a freshman. This was a free period. Still, she...
Student Voices Rise from the Crowd There is nothing more frightening to a writer than a blank sheet of paper, and as I looked out across the first staff meeting for the school’s...
Why I Teach: Learning What Courage Means My first year of teaching in middle school was an onslaught of reading quizzes, vocabulary lists, lunch duty, reading skills and faculty meetings. It...