fbpx M. Rebecca Moore | Phillips Exeter Academy

M. Rebecca Moore

Instructor in English
Woodbridge Odlin Professor in English
Appointed
1990
M. Rebecca Moore

Education

A.B. Radcliffe/Harvard College

M.Ed. Harvard University

Biography

Ms. Moore (Becky) grew up in New England and worked at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut and Brooks School in North Andover, MA, before joining the Exeter faculty in 1990.

Ms. Moore teaches English and coaches rowing. She has served as a dorm head and department chair and is one of the founding faculty members of the Exeter Humanities Institute. She holds the Woodbridge Odlin Professorship in English. Currently she serves as a graduate trustee of the Cambridge Friends School.

A few thoughts from Ms. Moore on teaching:

The poem “Hay” by Paul Muldoon begins “This much I know” and then ends “This much, at least, I know.” In between, his speaker’s words describe a moment of wonder when recognizing a hay bale explode with energy and light — a moment the speaker really knows, if not fully understands. As a secondary school teacher, I spend a lot of time thinking about knowledge: how we find it, savor it, understand it, use it and share it. In my English classes I often ask my students to write poems completing the line: “This much I know …” If I were to write such a poem, it would seek to encompass the following ideas:

That my students learn best through in-class discussion. They construct their knowledge about a text well-read by practicing speaking and listening; they leave the school ready to know themselves and others through words, to collaborate when seeking solutions and to voice their views in a democracy.

That as a boarding school teacher I work on the future at a small scale: 13 students in a class, nine athletes in a boat or 12 advisees in my living room at night. It is a human scale, however — one which all young humans deserve — and which educational institutions and their communities must continually strive to offer.

That a life takes stamina, patience and mission; in the nights or years when those qualities wear thin, art of all kinds brings us expression, joy and solace.

With thanks to Muldoon, “This much, at least, I know.”