Mr. Peard to Retire After 30 Influential Years

Photo courtesy of Ms. Judy Donald

Mr. Peard arrived at Choate in 1986 and has inspired countless English students ever since.

There is one quote that particularly stands out to 30-year Choate English teacher Mr. Trevor Peard. He elaborated, “There’s a quotation up in my classroom. It’s from Mary Oliver, and it says, ‘That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?’ I think that’s a significant thing because we all live our lives, and on so many days, we don’t make a comment on anything. We don’t think about what we do. We just do our homework and get closer to graduation. But every once in a while, I want my students to ask themselves the question: what do I think about this?”

His time at Choate has mainly revolved around this quote. Since his arrival in 1986, Mr. Peard has taught a variety of English courses, served in the Deans’ Office for nine years, and promoted public speaking through classes and competitions. English teacher Mr. Cyrus Cook, a 40-year colleague of Mr. Peard, who has worked with him at two different schools, commented, “Mr. Peard’s integrity and high standards stand out to me. For years, I was a third form dean, and I would often have kids complain about Mr. Peard’s exacting standards. The funny thing is that after the year was over, these same students would praise him as the teacher who taught them how to write or taught them how to think. This is a guy whom you learn to revere in retrospect. Other teachers might garner more cool points initially, but upon reflection, this is a teacher who really made an impact on their lives.”

Virginia Stanley ’17, who had Mr. Peard for her freshman English class, agreed. “I think a lot of people think that he’s stern, and while that’s true, it’s all to help you to become a better student, which I really appreciate in retrospect. He’s a teacher you’ll never forget,” she said. Riley Choi ’18, who also had him as an English teacher, added, “English had always been my weakest subject before I came to Choate. But after getting used to his teaching style, I started to enjoy English more. His comments in class and on my essays really encouraged me to become a better student and writer.”

Mr. Peard has taught freshmen for nearly 30 years. He remarked, “They’re so full of life.  Of all the things I’ve done at Choate, I think I enjoyed journal days, when everyone reads something they’ve written, the most — just sitting there, listening to them, learning how their minds work and just how sharp they are in expressing themselves. And I think sometimes they don’t realize that.”

Abigail Chang ’19, a student in Mr. Peard’s current freshman English class, observed, “I’ve never had a teacher like Mr. Peard. I’ve really enjoyed the journal entries we do for class because I’ve never really had an opportunity to write like that. I think I have learned a lot more from his class than I have from all my previous English classes combined.”

In addition to teaching English, Mr. Peard has managed public speaking competitions such as Choate’s annual Pratt-Packard Declamation Contest and Krause-Stevens Declamation Contest. Mr. Peard commented, “I love it when people use their own experience to stand up and say something. Whether it is their values or just stories, I admire the process of people using their own opinions or stories to talk to other people.”

Moreover, Mr. Peard has coached an assortment of sports, including soccer, tennis, Intramural Ultimate Frisbee, and winter running.

According to Mr. Peard, he did not know he wanted to become a teacher until later in life. “I’m not sure I ever really knew. I had liked school, so I thought I’d go back and see what it is like from the other side of the desk. I wish I could claim it was some deep ambition or commitment, but it really wasn’t,” he recalled.

Prior to Choate, Mr. Peard taught at several other schools, including Brewster Academy. Mr. Peard said jokingly, “I met my wife in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother taught at a school that I was hired to teach in. I didn’t have an apartment the first weekend — I was waiting for my apartment to finish — and they invited me to stay in her house. I think they’ve regretted it ever since.” Mrs. Peard, who now works as Choate’s Director of Parent Relations and International Students, will continue working at the school.

Despite serving as an influential teacher, Mr. Peard said, “I just feel ready to retire. I still enjoy teaching, and I’ll still be living here on campus, but it just seems like I would like to be doing something else while I’m still competent to do other things.” He added, “I hope to read a lot more than I am able to during the school year. I may do some kind of writing. Go for a lot of walks with my dogs. We also have a house in New Hampshire, so I hope to spend some of the time up there.”

Students and faculty alike will miss his presence in the classroom, on the athletic field, and at the lectern.

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