Student Teaching Stories: Mr. Morris and Mr. Morrow

Considered one of the most challenging professions, teaching is no easy job with constant grading, planing, and interaction with students. Now imagine doing this, but adding the struggle of college courses and going to a foreign school to help teach somebody else’s students full-time, without salary, meeting both the restrictions and requirements of both the school and student teaching college class. This is what it is like to be a student teacher.

Then imagine finally feeling at ease in the position, having built close relationships with faculty and students–and then not being able to say goodbye.

With COVID-19 and Georgia schools closing, things have become more difficult for student teachers. This article will be focusing on two student teachers at Cherokee: Mr. Morris and Mr. Morrow and their experiences so far.

Mr. Morris began teaching concert and marching band with Mr. Worely and Mr. Cheyne.

Mr. Morrow started teaching British Literature with Ms. Eller. Both began in pre-planning. Recently, Mr. Morrow took a long-term substitute position to cover for Ms. Berglund’s 9th grade literature classes during her maternity leave. He had only taken the position a couple weeks before dismissing for COVID-19, and now managing the same classes from home.

Mr. Morris

Mr. Morris (bottom-center) staring across the field at our Band of Warriors during marching band practice.

What do you help student teach in?

 I currently, or at least before COVID-19, student taught with the Band of Warriors.

What college do you attend? 

 I attend Kennesaw State University.

Why did you go into teaching?

I always wanted to be a teacher. I can remember when I was younger, in elementary school, I would imagine I was the teacher and I would get my stuffed animals to be my students. I would have a whole lesson plan with printed worksheets and a grade book. As I progressed in school, I realized I did not want to teach a regular subject such as math, science, social studies, and English. I wanted to teach something that always stuck to me which was music.  

What is one thing you have learned so far through student teaching?

The biggest thing that I have learned is that if you love what you are doing, time flies. I would be so engaged in teaching a class that I forget what time it is and the next thing I know, class is over.

What is the best piece of advice you were given or have to give?

There are 4 things to remember: 1. Be honest 2. Work hard 3. Be grateful 4. Remain humble

What is an interesting fact about you?

I love cruising. I have been on 12 so far and I hope to get to 20 before I am 30.

Experience and goodbye to Cherokee

At my time at Cherokee, I was able to experience something unique from the other music education majors at different schools. From day one of full-time student teaching, I was in front of a class teaching from the beginning to the end. I was comfortable with calling it “my class.”

I lesson planned, assessed, and even bought the whole class donuts! After a long semester of hard work, the 6th period/Intermediate Band 3 and I were slated to perform at the state evaluation, but due to the pandemic, everything was canceled. I knew that we were going to do great and have a good time.

Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to say good-bye because I was out of town during the closing of school. I would like to say to the 6th period/Intermediate Band; I am so proud of the progress we made over the past year. I know that we did not get to perform at LGPE, but we had already scored superiors in our hearts, your hard-work did not go unnoticed. Although we do not see each other every day, I still expect everyone to practice and continue to get better! I am so proud of you all, and I know that our paths will cross later in the future. I will always be watching and cheering you all on! Have a great rest of your semester and a great summer!

Mr. Morrow

Mr. Morrow had the challenging position of taking on classes as a long-term sub, but now doing so from home.

What do you help student teach in?

Well, at the beginning of the year, I was Gayle Eller’s student teacher mainly for her 12th-grade British literature classes and her Advanced Honors Composition and Grammar classes.

What college do you attend? 

Currently, I’m getting my Master’s program at Kennesaw State University, which is going through its own fun online classes now due to the circumstances.

Why did you go into teaching?

To make a long and emotional story short, what really pulled me in was an earnest desire to help the next generation grow and develop as they came to grips with the world around them. Despite the good education I got when I was younger, I never really internalized those lessons or had them help me develop as a person, so I would like to be there to help anyone else in those regards.

What is one thing you have learned so far through student teaching?

The most paramount lesson that has been imparted upon me has been understanding that every little thing you do as a teacher can carry weight. Random, simple statements could mean the world to a particular student, and how I carry myself can also have a good influence as well.

What is the best piece of advice you were given or have to give?

I’ve been told numerous times to remember to be fluid and flexible as a teacher. I’m a big planner, but I need to always be ready to adjust on the fly and do what is best for the students at that moment.

What is an interesting fact about you?

Technically speaking, I’ve published two books, so I believe that’s probably the most interesting tidbit I can come up with.

You were thrown into full-time solo teaching, moving from probably seniors to freshmen, only to–maybe 1-2 weeks later, be doing this from home where many seasoned veterans are struggling…can you give any insight into what this experience has been like for you? 

Yes, my student teaching experience has certainly been a unique and eventful one, to say the least.

Overall, I’d say that the experience has been enlightening through a number of factors. Typically, in my personal opinion, people have a tendency to be biased and base their thoughts and feelings on previous situations that act as a template of sorts.

For me, that template was just teaching 12th graders in a traditional classroom. So, once I had the chance to transition to a new classroom, I was able to quickly see that the normal expectations I had become accustomed to greatly varied depending on the people involved, which I knew but experiencing it firsthand was vastly different. With that in mind, this whole experience has been illuminating since it has given me more situational experience that I normally would not have had the pleasure to encounter as a regular student teacher.

As an introspective individual, that sort of experience is invaluable to me since it allows me to see the areas of growth I need to improve in to develop as an educator.

Mr. Morris and Mr. Morrow are just two of our fantastic team of student teachers who’ve joined us. They bring with them energy, passion, ideas, and great empathy for what our students at CHS experience being students still themselves. If you had a student teacher in one of your classes, reach out to them. Send your teacher an email with a message they can forward to the student teacher. Most student teachers did not get to say goodbye and may not be returning to CHS unlike the other teachers many students will be returning to in the fall. Once a warrior, always a warrior.

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