Meet the Teacher: Morgan First, Sam Adams Elementary School

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Morgan First    

School: Sam Adams Elementary School

Grade/subject taught:  Kindergarten

Where did you attend college? I attended Adrian College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts with a minor in Elementary Education. During my time at Adrian College, I also worked toward completing an endorsement in Early Childhood Education.

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? Following graduation in 2016, I went to work for GSRP (Great Start Readiness Program), a preschool program through Lewis Cass ISD.  I worked for GSRP for a year and a half, until I became a kindergarten teacher at Sam Adams this fall.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was in high school. I have always had a growing passion for teaching young children. I come from a big family and love to watch my nieces’ and nephews’ faces light up when they discover a new concept. My goal was to return to Cassopolis and have my own classroom full of students whose faces light up when I teach them, just as my nieces’ and nephews’ do. Two of my sisters are also educators. They are the main reasons I decided to take this career path. 

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? During my time off I enjoy spending time with my family and my dogs. The best stress relief is laughing and family time. While I am off in the summer I stay busy with my dog boarding services.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? One thing my students do not know about me is that I love to experience new food. In my upcoming trip to Japan, I cannot wait to try their traditional foods.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? My favorite fictional character is The Grinch. He is a character that has personal struggles that each student can relate to, and also has personal growth. He is able to overcome fears and obstacles, admit when he is wrong, and in the end, becomes a hero.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? Throughout my elementary years, I loved to do crafts and swim all summer long with my sisters.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? My co-workers would describe me as hardworking, eager and excited. My personality could be described as easy going and charismatic.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My biggest role models are my parents. They set the foundation for hard work, and taught me how important not only education was, but doing something you loved in life was worth every hardship.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? Throughout the years, education has changed with the advancement of technology, making subjects more hands-on, and also meeting the needs of the individuals easier.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? I would like to tell my parents that communication with their child’s teacher is key to their child’s academic success. I am a firm believer in communication with all of my students’ families. Teachers are with students for more hours in a day then teachers are with their own families. When the teacher and parents have open communication, the child will be more successful.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is… I hope my students are able to learn the joys that are in every part of education. I believe if a child learns to find something about coming to school they love, whether it be math class, art, a sport or a teacher, they will have a higher chance to succeed.

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