Spotlight – Mr. Pulsinelli

Jonah Kim

From creating dioramas of Dante’s Inferno to surrounding the whole school in a dimly lit morning meeting reciting Old English, English teacher Michael Pulsinelli’s classes are always full of life and learning. Pulsinelli, who has been teaching at Bishop Seabury since 2010, currently teaches the ninth and twelfth grades. He has also been chosen countless times for the faculty charge at stepping up and is a formidable foe on the dodgeball court. Students know Pulsinelli for his whimsical intensity and his endless stories about his childhood friend, Allen. In his classes, the students read and decipher works like Homer’s Iliad and the Old English poem “Beowulf.” Pulsinelli explains that he wants students to develop “the ability to analyze and appreciate a work of art, because that way even if they don’t do that for a living, their lives will be better as a result.” Not only does Pulsinelli have students read works of literature, but he also engages them in projects ranging from acting out scenes in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to writing their own love sonnets. Pulsinelli is also in charge of journalism class, in which students produce the school newspapers and yearbooks.

Pulsinelli grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, where he attended grade school. After middle school, Pulsinelli moved to Tennessee, which he describes as “quite the culture shock after New York,” and from that point he knew he wanted to go back to the East Coast for college. While in high school, Pulsinelli decided he wanted to become a teacher. Influenced by two of his own teachers, Pulsinelli says, “I said to myself at the time, ‘I could see myself doing this.’ From then on I never changed my major, I knew I wanted to be an English teacher.” Pulsinelli received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and went on to attend Brown University for graduate school.

While incoming ninth graders are sometimes on edge going into Pulsinelli’s English class—upper-schoolers tend to exaggerate its toughness—they soon realize that Pulsinelli has an unmatched ability to help students understand and enjoy literature. Uneasiness soon leaves students, and they come to class engaged and excited to learn from Pulsinelli.