“There was this moment in Senior High school, around Christmas time, that I really remember. I was involved with choir and we had an annual concert. The concert would always start off with a procession led by a soloist and this particular year, my high school got to pick a soloist - my music teacher chose me. It was probably the most terrifying moment of my life actually. I remember my teacher looking at me and saying “Morgan, you can do this. You got this”. I did it, shaking, and it was amazing. It was one of those moments where you're so terrified but you do it because of passion and courage. I found my voice that way.
"I really believe in helping people find their voices. This experience has helped shape my philosophy as a teacher and it’s a reason why I’m with Phoenix today.
“I recently graduated from Acadia with my Bachelor of Education. As a requirement of my program, I had to complete four placements - three placements of mine had already been in the public school system. During those placements, I kept seeing students struggling with the curriculum who were dealing with a lot of complex issues and needs. They were getting ignored in the school system: the school system was failing them, and these students felt like they didn’t matter. So I looked into what organizations were out there who could really help these youth.
"I actually had originally found Phoenix through the Community Choir before this placement. I had been looking for community choirs to join and found Phoenix’s and thought that what they were doing was awesome. So when I came time to applying for placements, I remembered Phoenix.
“Every day, I admire the youth I work with because of their resilience and their ability to manage situations. Seeing them achieve goals, no matter the size - that’s amazing.
“I’ll never forget when I got to work on the Phoenix Volunteer Thank-a-thon during my placement. Seeing our youth have pride in thanking the volunteers and our volunteers being so thankful was a fantastic experience. We had a couple touching phone calls where the youth really got to feel like they were giving back. Volunteers are one of the most important resources that Phoenix has.
“Phoenix has changed me and the ways that I will now build relationships with the youth in my classroom, understanding the youth for who they are. The biggest thing as a teacher is not the curriculum you teach. It’s the building of a community, providing a safe space, helping youth view themselves as valuable and helping them see that they matter.
“Working here has helped change the way I will approach teaching and the expectations I now have with how students interact with each other. I see people for who they are and not for any labels that society puts on them. Phoenix has changed my entire perspective on education. I feel ready, as an educator, to make an impact.”
Morgan has continued with Phoenix in a term position since the end of her placement in June 2017. She hopes to one day change the narrative of youth in the public school system.