Morrison is ‘Teacher of the Year’

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ&045;Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year, McLaurin Elementary fourth-grade teacher Alice Morrison, said she uses students’ interests to find better ways to teach.

Morrison received $1,000 to be used for school supplies and a certificate from Wal-Mart of Natchez as a result of students’ and parents’ votes.

Barbara Strauder, a Wal-Mart employee, said that during April and May, students and parents nominated teachers for the honor using ballots submitted at the front of the store.

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On the ballots, they wrote each teacher’s name and school and why the teacher should receive the Teacher of the Year honor. At the end of the month Strauder tallied up the votes, and Morrison had the most.

&uot;She’s a model teacher,&uot; Linda McMurtey, interim principal at McLaurin, said.

Morrison, a lifelong resident of Natchez, has been teaching for five years and strives to find new ways to help her students learn.

For example, last year Morrison taught a very shy student who would not participate in class.

But she took notice of what the child was interested in &045; &uot;anything dealing with nature and drawing,&uot; Morrison said.

&uot;And I thought about, ‘How can I reach this child and I said I know what I must do. I must tap in on what it is this child likes to do,’&uot; she said.

Morrison assigned her students to draw a picture of their dream houses and then write a story about them.

The shy student drew a picture of his own home and opened up in the written story by providing a detailed description of the home.

The moral of the story, Morrison said, is that the child’s interest in drawing helped open other doors in the learning process.

That same student was later honored as the Most Improved Student.

Morrison quoted a former college professor as saying that if &uot;the children cannot learn the way we teach, that we must teach them the way they learn.&uot;

Although Morrison said she loves teaching, she is currently working on an administrative degree in hopes of becoming principal one day.

&uot;I feel that right now, in my classroom, I reach a limited number of students,&uot; Morrison said.

&uot;As an administrator, I can reach a wider population of students.&uot;

Morrison said she hopes she can become principal of McLaurin in the future.

&uot;I would like to carry on what we’re doing and build up on what we’re doing,&uot; Morrison said.

In Morrison’s personal life, she is anxiously awaiting the return of her husband, David, who has been serving in the military in Kuwait.

Morrison’s husband has been overseas for about four months. &uot;What has made it easy is the fact I talk to him everyday,&uot; she said.

The technology of satellite phones has made the everyday calls a reality for Morrison and her husband.

Morrison is hoping her husband will return in mid-July.