Justin Morton joins the Westford Academy staff as a teaching assistant for the Student Support Services.
Q: Can you give me a brief description of your job?
A: I am a teacher teaching assistant at WA, so I go to whatever classes I’m assigned to, and I’m there to help the teacher with anything that they might need. They might need copies or help correcting the student’s work. Sometimes getting class materials together before class.
Q: What was your previous job before coming to Westford Academy?
A: I was a special education TA in Littleton at Shaker Lane Elementary School. I worked with kindergarten, first, and second graders with autism and other learning disabilities.
Q: Since when have you wanted to be a teacher?
A: Probably about four or five years ago, I was in a job interview. I graduated with a business degree so I was at a job interview for a company and they asked me what my dream job would be. Without even thinking about it, I just said history teacher. I kind of knew instantly that I wasn’t going to get that job, but, it was definitely a moment of clarity for myself.
Why did you choose to come to Westford Academy?
A: I graduated from Westford Academy back in 2008, so I know the school and the system. I still know a lot of the teachers there from my time at WA so it was just familiar. I know how well the school is run and everything, so it was definitely a high-end school that I wanted to get into because it would be a great place to get my first teaching position.
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
A: I started out going to UMass Amherst. When I was there, I was trying to get into the Isenberg School of Business, but I kept on getting waitlisted and I got admitted as an undergraduate undeclared. I kept on trying out different majors. I tried public health. I tried building and construction. I tried economics, but none of them really clicked. So then, I ended up transferring to UMass Lowell, because they let me enter the business school, no problem. I ended up graduating with my bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in management.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Sports, if there’s a pickup basketball game or softball league, or anything like that. I like to stay active, but I also am currently getting into cooking. I like to try out a lot of new recipes and try to test my hand at being like Gordon Ramsay […] I consider myself a foodie too. I like to go visit places and try all the crazy food on like, Phantom gourmet and everything like that.
Q: How has it been coming to work each day with all the precautions against COVID-19?
A: It’s definitely different. Right now, there are definitely fewer kids in the school, which is definitely detrimental for the students. It definitely makes things a little harder for the teachers being able to organize everything, but it’s a lot easier to get through the hallways now, but I think that Westford is doing a very good job so far. With all their restrictions in place. If the biggest downer of my day is having to wear a face mask, then I’ll take it, could be worse.
Q: How are you liking WA so far?
A: It’s been awesome. You get all this nostalgia of walking in the first time again after a decade. Getting to see some of the old teachers and reconnecting with them, and being able to reminisce and seeing things changing, makes me really excited for the future.
Q: What are your goals for this year?
A: I want to get to know all the intricacies of being a teacher at WA so that when the time comes, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be able to step into a new position and grow even more and extend my teacher career even more.