Alumni Returns to Work With Her Veteran Teachers
By Hannah S.
As the first bell rings on an overcast Tuesday morning, English teacher Ms. Morrison stands outside her classroom, waving at students as they walk by. For this teacher, her time here is tinged with memories of her own experiences as a student at DHS.
An a substitute-turned-English teacher, Ms. Morrison has known about her passion for teaching since she was a child.
“Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to work with kids,” said Ms. Morrison. “I know that sounds weird being little and wanting to work with kids, but my mom had a daycare in my house growing up and it was always my favorite thing.”
Ms. Morrison says she would make the kids play teacher and would get up and teach lessons to them.
“It’s just something that always really interested me and I always knew I wanted to do it.”
Morrison is no stranger to Duxbury. She grew up here and was a student at Duxbury Public Schools, and now works with many of the teachers she was once taught by. With a license in English and a masters in special education, Ms. Morrison is already familiar with the ins and outs of teaching, but still loves to find fun new ways to keep her students interested in the task at hand.
“At the beginning of last year I was an in-house sub,” she said. “So going to different classes every day and teaching different things was a little bit different than knowing your schedule, coming in every day and being here.”
Ms. Morrison finds that being a full-time English teacher has its advantages.
“You get to know the kids so well, which is awesome. It really feels like they are your classes even though you are a sub. You get to have that stronger bond instead of if you’re just a sub for the school, going to different classes all day. You don’t get to form those relationships whereas when you’re with the kids all day you do, which I love.”
Morrison values her connections with her students, which have been strengthened in her position as a long-term teacher rather than her previous position as a substitute.
“I think my strength as a teacher is that I’m super approachable, or at least I try to be super approachable. I try really hard to let the kids know that I am here for them, I do want to help them, and that if they ever have any sort of issue with schoolwork, they can come to me. If they ever need any help with anything I’m here for them.”
Mrs. Woodworth, a fellow English teacher, agrees with her. “Ms. Morrison’s ability to connect with students is impressive,” she said.
She isn’t alone in thinking this.
“She just relates really well to her students,” says Mr. O’Connell, whom Ms. Morrison worked with for a few years and who taught Morrison when she was a high school student.
“She’s really a natural at teaching from what I’ve seen. I worked with her when it was her first teaching job, working with me on Time and Tides. She was also an instructional assistant in one of my chemistry classes, and I loved having her there.”
Mr. Aukerman, a history teacher at DHS, feels the same way about Ms. Morrison. He taught her in U.S. History when she was 15, and kept in contact with her as she completed her undergraduate and graduate school studies.
“She’s incredibly open and that’s been amazing for her students and her coworkers,” he says. “She is enormously easy to work with, both as a peer and as a teacher. Not everyone can teach, and it’s gratifying to see some of our best go into teaching.” “Her ability to connect with students is
Her greatest weakness? “This is just my second year with my own classroom and having a class for myself. So really getting comfortable in that and just kind of working through the kinks of being a new teacher.”
Ms. Morrison also values organization for her students and classroom.
“I sort of adopted it from my co-teacher, Mrs. Benoit. She always says to everyone, ‘organization is the key to success.’ So we really try to get that across to the students; that’s probably something that they hear from us every day and something that we really try to instill in them.”
Morrison loves teaching English and thinks it carries great value for the students’ ability to think originally and work well in college and beyond.
“I think being able to write is such an important skill and something that we really focus on in english class, obviously. But also being able to read and being able to write a coherent thought is super important. Because even if they won’t go into English, they will likely go into a job where they will need to communicate with others, write an email, write a memo or something along those lines.”
As for the future? Ms. Morrison says she’ll likely remain at Duxbury as an English teacher. “I love teaching where I grew up, so I can see myself staying here for a long time.”