Q: How do you celebrate your students?
A: I attempt to be very conscious of making sure all my students have a way to show their strengths. I remember the details from their lives that let them know they have worth and are important to me. I thank them for being “risk takers” when they go first in answering or volunteering. I acknowledge them outside of class in the hallways. I make time for them when I am not sure there is enough time; those moments are the ones I see God and His timing in. I go to their extracurricular activities anytime they tell me about them.
Q: How do you make sure your students achieve the outcomes you set for them?
A: In the classroom I am careful to observe degrees of engagement from my students. I challenge the students to think outside the box. I constantly assess and consider the assessment to be for me to know where I need to fill gaps. The formative assessment allows me to be a better teacher. I state our collective goal before I begin in order to hold myself accountable for the outcome. I also tend towards project-based learning, which takes relevant scenarios and allows for the students to learn how to collaborate, problem solve, question their learning, question how they think, and not fear failure but merely see challenges as a step on the way to success. Additionally, project-based learning allows for huge degrees of differentiation so that every child can be met where they are in the learning continuum.
Q: What has been one of the most powerful projects you’ve worked on in your classroom?
A: I challenged students to design a zoo where all of the animals could have their individual needs met. This was for a third grade class. The engagement was 100% as the students took the tables and completely rearranged them. The tables are dry erase and intended to be written upon. The rearrangement allowed for them to completely configure a schematic and architectural design of the zoo. The design covered ten different tables. The beauty of the project was relevance, differentiation, cross-curricular learning, and collaboration. Real-world skills were at the forefront. The best part of the whole lesson was the students considered it to be for fun and wanted to press themselves further and further by their own volition.
Q: What are the milestones in your life that led you to teach at FBCA?
A: I have a love of learning. I am led to seek the answers to the question, “Why?”. In some ways it made my journey to salvation take longer because I needed to understand many things. Conversely, it allowed my faith to be rock solid and prepared me for being entirely comfortable teaching in a Christian, Biblebased school. I have taught boys and girls mission classes, two-year old Sunday School, third grade Sunday School, VBS, untold numbers of youth trips, 14 years of eighth grade and twelfth grade Sunday School and many women’s Bible Studies. Additionally, I have facilitated Bible Studies during the summer with our faculty. Teaching and learning go hand-in-hand.
When I went to University I was the top graduate for the school of Arts and Science when I graduated with my B.S. in Biology and a teaching certification through the School of Education. While in school I also worked in the lab with cancer research and am a listed contributor of a study on apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.
Learning to juggle being the mom of four beautiful children while going to undergraduate and graduate school (for a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction) was a huge lesson in the management of time that one needs to be to be a good teacher. The goal of going to school was two-fold; to satisfy my love of learning and be an even more effective servant of others.
Q: What made you realize you wanted to focus on STEAM?
A: I have been innately curious all my life. I had two teachers that allowed me to ask, “But, why...?” as many times as I wanted. One was my sixth grade Life Science teacher and the other was my high school Biology teacher. Additionally, allowing others to experience the wonder and awe-inspiring beauty of seeing HIM in creation is a joy unlike any other.
Q: What are the moments when you think, “I love my job”?
A: I once had a student that came from a background that left him angry, questioning God and not trusting. He was only five. Every time I saw him I tried to learn one more thing about him, acknowledge the good choices he made and looked him in the eye so he knew I saw him as valuable. He was making progress but I couldn’t judge whether my efforts were being received by him. To set the stage, this little man was about as tall as halfway up my thigh. One day he and I approached each other in the hallway before school. As he got closer he took three running steps and went from the floor to leaping completely into my arms and giving me a hug that powered my energy flow for days. I was getting through! I definitely thought, “I love my job”!
Q: What do you love to do outside of FBCA to celebrate life?
A: I like to run (about a dozen marathons and a couple ultramarathons). I read. I spend time with my family. I sit in nature. I dance when I do housework (no one knows that). I cook and bake for the sake of art. I build things.
Q: What motivates you to continually improve what you do?
A: Being service-minded presses me to seek continual improvement. If I become stagnant in my learning then I believe my teaching will become stagnant too. Colossians 3:23 admonishes me personally “whatever [I] do, work at it with [my] whole being, for the LORD”. I take that charge seriously.
“A risk-taker is someone who puts themselves out there before others do. It’s not the first to raise their hand. I delay responses so that those children that need time to formulate their thoughts have that opportunity. When a child is willing to go first they are putting not simply an answer out there. They are placing a bit of their self-esteem in the middle of the classroom because if a teacher is not gentle with how she or he handles their answer the child could feel belittled or insufficient. Thanking them shows I have high regard for their bravery and thoughts that often have threadlike connections to our subject but start the conversation and encourage more students to be brave.” - Ms. Rebecca Morgan
*This article is from the July 2020 edition of the Fort Bend Christian Academy Magazine