Karen Morman, Literary Specialist at Webb Elementary School in McKinney recently traveled to Austin to be interviewed as one of the three finalists for Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Ms. Morman (middle, in above picture) says the best part of this opportunity for her is having a chance to talk about the positive things happening in Texas public schools.
“Both of my children are products of the McKinney public school system, and the excellent preparation they received helped them both to graduate from college and go on to rewarding careers,” she says. Morman is an advocate for public education and credits her mentors, supportive administrators and students for her successes in the classroom.
Here’s a closer look at Karen Morman, as she answers some questions we put to her:
What is a Literary Specialist?
I work with students to teach them strategies that they can use to help them understand what they read. Some of the strategies we study include connecting to prior knowledge, asking questions, making predictions using clues from the text, imagining movies in their minds based on the author’s words, and using word analysis strategies to understand new vocabulary.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about teaching and making a positive difference in the world by giving students opportunities to become problem solvers and life-long learners.
What are the three things parents can do to help ensure their children’s success in school?
• They can create a positive relationship of trust with their child’s teacher
• They can engage in a meaningful conversation about what the student is learning and have the child teach them something they learned.
• They can make education a priority in the home.
What is the biggest misconception parents have about grade school education that may be holding students back?
One misconception is that school is the same as it was when they went to school.
What is the one piece of advice you would give a new or struggling teacher that would help take them from good to great?
My advice to new teachers would be to treat each student as a unique individual focusing on the student’s strengths while providing tools for him or her to grow. We should celebrate students’ successes and build high self-esteem, positive attitudes, and the intrinsic motivation to have an excitement and desire for learning.
Teachers should remember to enjoy the journey and to share that joy for learning with their students.
Pictured in top photo: JW Webb Principal Kyle Luthi, Literary Specialist Karen Morman and Assistant Principal Sarah Teasdale.