Full-Time English Teacher

Portsmouth Abbey School seeks a full-time English Teacher for the 2021-2022 school year, beginning August, 2021. The successful candidate will teach four sections of one or more of the following: Intro to Literature (9th grade), American Literature (11th grade), or English Seminar and Thesis (12th Grade). This course meets four times a week (Portsmouth Abbey’s school week is Monday through Saturday). Candidates should have at least a BA in English and experience teaching high-school English, possess a strong background in the classic works of English and American literature, and demonstrate a commitment to teaching analytical writing. Strong applicants will be interested in helping students develop their inner lives as well as their reading and writing skills. Familiarity with the Catholic intellectual tradition is a plus. Please see the course descriptions below.

Founded in 1926 and owned by the Order of St. Benedict, Portsmouth Abbey School is New England’s premier co-educational, Catholic, Benedictine boarding and day school. Admission to Portsmouth is selective and the school is fully enrolled with 360 boys and girls. The magnificent campus is ideally situated on the shores of Narragansett Bay with easy access to Newport, Providence, and Boston.

Faculty members are expected to participate in all aspects of the school. Faculty appointments normally include two seasons of coaching athletics and responsibility in a dormitory as a houseparent. Each faculty member serves as an advisor for 5-7 students.

Kale Zelden
Dean of Faculty
Portsmouth Abbey School
Portsmouth, RI 02871
-- No phone calls, please. --


The Third Form curriculum provides students with a foundation in serious reading, writing, and thinking via an encounter with some of the most famous works in history. Texts include Homer’s Odyssey, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, as well as other short fiction and poetry. Students learn the foundational art of close reading and annotation, as well as the skills of poetry recitation and public speaking. Writing instruction focuses on the argumentative essay, the building block of academic writing in all genres. Students learn how to craft a thesis statement and support it with textual evidence, with special emphasis placed on paragraph structure and organization of ideas. Above all, students are encouraged to use these skills to investigate what the texts have to say about what it means to live well, and to examine their own lives in light of what they discover.


What does it mean to be American? In what ways is this identity universal? In what ways is it particular to the American experiment? Questions like these guide students in their Fifth Form year as they read some of the most famous works in the American canon. After starting the year with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, students trace the beginnings of American literary culture in Concord, Massachusetts in studying the Transcendentalists and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the winter the curriculum dives deeply into Melville’s Moby-Dick, followed by a close reading of Toni Morrison’s Beloved in the spring. Writing instruction encourages students to explore and develop their ideas through close reading and analysis of the text. The students’ concurrent study of American history provides them with an excellent opportunity to examine how history and culture inform each other, and continue to shape our present moment. Interested students have the option to take the AP English Language exam at the end of the year.


The Sixth Form year mirrors the structure, content, and expectations of a college-level course. All students read Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the remainder of the syllabus is crafted by the teacher. Recent thematic offerings have focused on Women in Literature, the American South, Satire, and Utopian Literature, to name but a few. In all cases, the English Seminar and Thesis is an intensive reading, writing, and speaking course. Students are responsible for seminar discussions and write a literary-critical thesis, on a book and topic of their own choosing, in the Spring Term.