Kristin Morris talks about teaching and moving to WA

Profe+Morris+by+the+sea+with+her+sons

provided by Kristin Morris

Profe Morris by the sea with her sons

Pravar Mukkala, Staff Writer

After moving from Stony Brook Middle School to Westford Academy, new Spanish teacher Kristin Morris is excited to face the challenges ahead in this strange and new year.

Q: Why did you decide to transfer from Stony Brook to WA?

A: Well, it’s really interesting. I taught high school before coming to Stony Brook. I actually started out my teaching career outside of Chicago. […] So from there, I came back out east. I was in Chicago for about five years. And then I taught at Chelmsford High School for a while. And then at Bishop Guertin as well. But the opportunity came at Stony Brook… When I was making a transition and I thought, ‘this is something that would be a good change for me’. I hadn’t taught middle school before. My sons at the time were seven years old and I thought ‘this will be good’ and I loved it. I loved Stony Brook. I truly did. But last year I went through cancer, and my sons are now juniors in college, and the opportunity arose for a possibility of me going to WA. I thought now is the time for me to make this transition. I really enjoy helping students to move forward with their lives. I’ve kept in touch with so many students, not just from Stony Brook but from the years in the past.

Q: What subject do you teach?

A: I’m currently teaching Spanish 1, Spanish 2 CP, and Spanish 2 Honors.

Q: You were just talking about you were hoping to go back to normal soon. Do you think of the protocols and all those things are helping? 

A: You know, I really do. It’s very interesting. […] I think the protocols are really good. The masks, the hand washing […] it’s kind of it’s a new reality. […] It’s something we have to live with for a while, but it’s how we adapt and learn from it and move forward to push back.

Q: Would you rather have the hybrid system than completely remote, or would you prefer a completely remote program?

A: Whatever is best considering the COVID stats at the moment, […] For right now, I’m actually liking the way I have things set up. You know, by seeing the students in the morning, I’m able to have them do something that’s actually more of a review. Then we practice it in a small setting in the Google Meet in the afternoon. And having those smaller numbers for now is great. I personally can’t wait to get back live. I can’t imagine anybody who isn’t. And for those students who have chosen the Remote Learning Academy, the RLA, we are so lucky here in Westford to have that option. After talking to some other families in other districts, they don’t have that. And their students are struggling, they’re trying to figure out how to make this work. I really feel that we’ve done a good job at providing this [RLA] and I’ve been so impressed of how kids have adapted to this.

Q: What made you want to teach in general?

A: I’ve always been this like, book person and teacher person. […] I went in to teach, my major was Spanish and English. I went to a liberal arts school in Wisconsin, and then my minor was education. […] It was until my senior year that I decided not to student teach because I was afraid I’d never make any money. And I panicked. When I left college, I moved to Chicago and became a corporate recruiter for the Boston Consulting Group. And I’m so glad I did that because I have that corporate background and see what many of the families go through in working with the corporate world. I got to recruit students right out of undergrad and also graduate school. And it made me want to be back there mentoring people.

Q: What made you want to teach Spanish?

A: I actually took French from seventh through 12th grade. And I had an open class my senior year and I’d always wanted to take Spanish even when I was in middle school. […] I took it and I loved it. So when I went to college, I was up in Appleton, Wisconsin. I’m an English Spanish major. And then I went to Ecuador, lived there for six months and that changed my life. […] I speak Spanish as much as possible.

Q: You used to do Writer’s Club at Stony Brook. Are you involved with that in any way here?

A: Yes, actually, we’re waiting for it to be approved. But I’m so excited about this. I’m so excited.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I mean, I’m sure everybody always says it, but I truly am excited for the possibilities this year. I found everyone to be welcoming and open. And I think, above everything, I’ve been so impressed with the way things have run with the students considering COVID.