Melissa Bagg

Teacher of English and Deputy Housemistress, Bedales

BA Italian Literature, Wesleyan University
MA, PhD English Literature, UMass
/Amherst

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

Imagination, sense of humour, delight in listening to and exploring students' ideas with them, flexibility and rigor in a healthy balance. 

What are you trying to encourage and instil in the students?

The sense that the purpose to education goes beyond exam results and entrance into prestigious universities. Real learning should be motivated by genuine curiosity and belief that the student owns her/his education, not the other way around. 

What events and activities do you get involved with in the life of the school?

Orchestra, Junior Literary Society, the colorful and bustling life of Steephurst.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

The history of progressive education which lingers in the wonderful library, in the handshaking at the end of each assembly where everyone looks each other in the eye, the quirkiness and the immense support for the arts. 

What is your best memory of Bedales?

Brilliant creative performances! Listening to the transcendent "Sure on this Shining Night" in a recital by John Barker in the Olivier Theatre, or the fierce presence of an actor playing a wheel-chair bound dead man in a student written play.

Who or what inspires you?

Students who think for themselves, the Hangers on a windy afternoon, Shostakovich, kindness. 

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

My ancestor Mary Parsons was the first woman to be tried as a witch in New England. She was acquitted.