|Career Partner Spotlight: Langdon Morris and Boston Teacher Residency|
Langdon Morris '10 & '11 • Boston Teacher Residency 2011-2012
When and where did you serve as a City Year corps member?
I served in '10 and '11 as a corps member and team leader at Neighborhood House Charter
School in Dorchester, MA.
What brought you to City Year?
saw a television commercial for City Year featuring a friend from college. I
called him up and asked him about City Year and he had good things to say. I
knew I wanted to teach, but there was a hiring freeze in the district where I
did my student teaching in North Carolina. City Year seemed like a great way to
keep my foot in education and explore a new city.
How did you decide you wanted to teach?
I knew that
I wanted to teach since I was in the 11th grade. I loved English
because I felt like my teachers were relating literature to my life, and
talking about issues that went beyond our classroom. City Year helped me fall
in love with urban education. I loved my students at NHCS, the school culture,
and the relationships I built within City Year, and that has kept me teaching
in Boston since.
When did you complete your residency year of service with BTR, and at which school? Where do you currently teach?
with BTR from 2011-2012 at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, MA and now
teach 7th grade ELA Inclusion at the Harbor School in Dorchester,
What brought you to BTR?
BTR gave a
presentation at one of our Friday trainings and it seemed like a good fit for
my future. I knew that I wanted to keep teaching, and it made sense to get my
Master’s Degree, essentially for free, in a district that highly favors
teachers furthering themselves academically.
What made you choose BTR over other teaching programs?
I knew that
Boston Teacher Residency had a good reputation and that many BTR teachers were
hired and valued in the district. I knew that BTR would challenge me as a
person, much as City Year had, but also would challenge me academically and get
me ready for the challenges of Boston classrooms. Also, I was familiar with the
Education Award, stipend, and all that comes with being an AmeriCorps member. I
was used to living within the means of an AmeriCorps member, and I knew that I
could also receive financial aid to help me out.
How did City Year prepare you for BTR?
many things that I did as a corps member that I still do in my classroom today.
I run reading groups in my classroom using the same strategies I learned in
City Year. City Year was my first exposure to students with academic and
social/emotional disabilities in the urban setting, and those experiences
taught me to manage behaviors that may hurt the learning environment. City Year
began to teach me how to balance building relationships and relating to
students while maintaining a culture of respect.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a BTR resident/teacher?
behavior management. Learning to build a culture of respect towards adults and
peers in the classroom can be difficult. It takes patience, consistency, humor,
and relationships to pull it off. I think that an inability to manage behaviors
is likely what drives most teachers out of the profession within the first few
years. Students want a safe and structured environment, but some students want
to see if you’re going to protect that environment or not, or may act in opposition
in order to gain attention or avoid failure. I haven’t met a student that does
not want to be successful, but they can’t learn if they are in a chaotic
What advice do you have for corps members who want to teach?
1. One veteran teacher and coach told me: "Talk to every kid, every day.” I think the nature of this is that relationships go a long way. City Year corps members tend to be great at building relationships. I think students can sniff out whether or not you are genuine. If you really care, they will know. It matters to them that you love them, whether they let you know or not.
2. You can’t let up on your expectations. If it means stopping and practicing the right way every time expectations aren’t met, then it’s worth it. If it means calls home every night, then it’s worth it. If you are consistent and students know this, they will act accordingly. Our students are amazing and capable, they just need clear expectations set, so that they can meet them.
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