Catherine Morgan called out the classroom instruction in a clear voice: “Six minus four.”
Her students at Skyview Elementary School looked down at the math bingo cards on their desks, counted on their fingers and then put Fruit Loop cereal pieces on the correct answer.
After 40 years of teaching in Bibb County, Morgan called it a day -- and a career -- on Friday.
“I have very mixed feelings because I love what I do,” she said. “I’m going to miss the administrators, I’m going to miss the teachers, I’m going to miss the students because I’ve loved coming to school every single day.
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“In 40 years, no two days have ever been the same.”
A sign reading “Morgan’s Responsible Mustangs” has been hanging over her doorway all those years, and it’s accompanied her to several schools across town -- Hall, Danforth, Hunt, Redding, and Skyview -- during that stretch.
By her own estimate, she taught about 1,000 students during those four decades. She said she’s even taught the grandchildren of some of her former students.
“I said I’d stop when one of two things happen: If I quit loving it, which I never did, or if I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job anymore, and I feel like I’ve still been able to do that so I went to my 40,” Morgan said.
During her tenure, Morgan has taught first- to third-graders and worked as an Early Intervention Program teacher and site coordinator. She’s also earned accolades including Teacher of the Year and a Golden Apple Award.
Skyview’s principal, Sara Carlson, said it’s been a privilege to know and work with Morgan. Morgan has a special way of reaching children and was a natural teacher, she said.
“We thought she had one more year, so I wasn’t expecting her to tell me that this was her last year,” Carlson said. “It’s definitely a loss for Skyview. She’s an amazing teacher and an amazing person. Somebody has some big shoes to fill to follow her.”
Carlson added that in the five years she’s been at Skyview, she’s never had a single discipline referral from Morgan’s class.
“They feel comfortable taking chances when they come in here,” Morgan said. “Even children that have sort of been a behavior problem in the classroom or can’t pay attention in the classroom. I work with very small groups, and I don’t have those problems in here.”
Morgan said she plans to visit with her six grandchildren more often now, some of whom are in Naples, Florida. She said, however, that she doesn’t want to be completely done with teaching and might volunteer in the future.
“It means too much to me to leave,” she said. “I can’t walk away from it. It’s just such a big part of who I am.”
To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382.