Share / Discuss

Teacher’s Pet

“I like getting my students to express themselves across different media,” says Suzanne Winter ’10, a biology teacher at Stevenson, a therapeutic prep school in Manhattan. 

“Things like essays, theater, paintings, cross-stitch.”


“It’s very relaxing,” she explains. “We plot our big ideas onto a cross-stitch grid—it’s more freeing for students to think about things in three dimensions, not just on lined paper.”

Winter’s favorite subject to teach is sex education. Adolescents come to Stevenson facing academic, social, physical, and/or emotional challenges, and she prides herself on fostering an environment where they can ask her the most personal of questions without embarrassment, knowing they’ll get clear, factual, nonjudgmental answers … at the price of a pun, perhaps.

“I made a pretty bad ‘you’re ovary-acting’ joke today in class.” She smiles proudly.

After Swarthmore, Winter reconsidered medical school when an interviewer asked her if she would be comfortable eschewing creativity in her daily work.

“I wrote a letter afterward, thanking her for recognizing how difficult it would be for me to toe that rigid line,” she says. “Teaching opened itself as a creative way for me to be of service while still engaging with medicine, health, and science.”

Adviser to—and chief enthusiast of—Stevenson’s anime club as well as a proud confidante to her students, Winter hopes to inspire them to always see the world through curious, compassionate eyes.

“We had a delightful time recently in class listening to a Percy Jackson audiobook, coloring, and discussing how the actors’ choices could spark assumptions—good and bad—in listeners,” she says. “Engaging with new information and disrupting systems is my idea of fun, both as an educator and as a rabble-rouser.”