As a former high school teacher, Jenny Morris values the power of education and the impact a teacher can make in the lives of their students. Ms. Morris grew up in Durham, North Carolina. She loved history from an early age, enthralled by the mysteries of the ancient world. In addition to her passion for history, she was heavily involved in Girl Scouting and swim team. In high school, she was heavily influenced by her high school history teachers, who went above and beyond to foster her interest in the past. Many of them also influenced her outside of the classroom as her swimming and soccer coaches. Eventually, Ms. Morris' interest in the past and her strong desire to help others led her down the path of a career in education.
Ms. Morris received her B.A. in History from Virginia Tech and M.A. in Education from Wake Forest University. She taught in both public and private settings, in Durham County at Northern High School and in Guilford County at Eastern Guilford High School. She also taught in a private-school setting at Sanford School (Delaware). Throughout her career, Ms. Morris taught a variety of courses, including: World History, AP World History, Civics and Economics, and AP Government and Politics. She also served as an assistant and head swimming coach.
In 2018, Ms. Morris moved to Boone and began working as University College Academic Advisor and an Academic Area Content Consultant in the History Department. Throughout her various roles on campus she works to help students make the most out of their time at App State, as well as prepare for their future careers. In August of 2019, she began her new role as the History Education Program (HEP) Associate and Advisor. She also serves as a lecturer within the History Department.
Why does history/social studies education matter?
Jenny Morris: History/social studies education is essential for understanding the world today in context. Social studies education supports an exploration of the past beyond just the events themselves to understand the push/pull factors behind history. It is critical that the lessons of the past are not forgotten because they continue to shape our future.
Which skills are essential for teachers that are not usually discussed in college education-prep courses?
JM: One of the most important and valuable skills a teacher can possess is relationship building. Content and standards are absolutely important but students need to trust and know their teachers to have the best possible learning environment. When teachers connect with their students and get to know them as individuals, every lesson and piece of information will be that much more valued by the student. In my experience, relationships with your students cannot be stressed enough. There is no one right way to relate with and build relationships with students but it is of the utmost importance.
What do you most enjoy about working with our student teachers?
JM: Student teachers begin their semesters as students and end as teachers. I enjoy being able to help them gain confidence in their roles and explore the various challenges of the classroom. We work together to troubleshoot areas of weakness and share in areas of success. My favorite part about working with student teachers is that we work as a team to create the best experiences we can for students and to develop a workforce of highly qualified and engaged educators.