An English Teacher’s Story (Ms. Peacock Interview)


Mackenzie Southworth

Ms. Peacock, one of Sunlake’s AP Language and English II teachers, with her student’s “peacock feathers” surrounding her.

Mackenzie Southworth, Staffer

Ms. Peacock teaches regular English II, as well as AP English Language and Composition here at Sunlake, and has been teaching for 21 years. However, this is her first full year at our school; she worked for 20 years in Hernando county before joining us! “It’s my second career, I raised my children first. But I knew I wanted to be an English teacher by 1st grade. I got to be a teacher for a day- I still remember. Or I thought I could be a music teacher ’cause I love to sing but I found out, thank goodness, I don’t want to teach music. But I always knew. Teacher for a day was kind of a get-along group thing; I still remember picking out my clothes out- I wore a white shirt and a blue shirt! I don’t remember what they look like I just remember the colors. Now, why did I decide to teach English? I love books. I love words. I love talking about books, talking about words. I’m going to teach – my standard answer has always been – until they kick me out! I’m eligible for full retirement at 62 and that’s in 5 years; but I think I want to go back to college. I think I want my master’s in English. I want to teach college, and I’d like the opportunity to transition from high school, which I’ve loved. I have loved working with this age group, but to have just that next step up and that little bit more freedom that we can’t quite enjoy at the high school level (’cause they’re officially technically grown-ups) opens the doors to certain topics you have to be truthfully so careful of at the high school level. Now, I hope that my love of language and stories is contagious, that, like in [AP Lang], we get to sit and have a real academic discussion about everything that this guy [Fitzgerald] is trying to say in The Great Gatsby, and how he puts it together. It’s not just the usual fill-out-a-worksheet teaching, but it’s more give-and-take, conversation, and ideas being exchanged. I communicate my love of English through if you recommend a book for me or you let me borrow a book, I read what you’re reading. That kind of stuff. Any crazy thing I can come up with. I just can’t imagine doing anything else, I don’t want to do anything else. Because I was going to work hard at whatever I chose to do, and I wanted to do something that would make me feel like I was serving a purpose.” Ms. Peacock continues to inspire her students this year with her lively spirit, and will surely touch the hearts of her students this year.