UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Wednesday November 22 2017
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Jill Morrison recognized as January 2015 Teacher of the Month

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PA Cyber Teacher Profile

When did you begin teaching at PA Cyber?
I came to PA Cyber in 2008 after graduating from Robert Morris University. I was laid off from US Airways after 25 years as a Fleet Service Supervisor, so, I went right back to college and completed my teaching degree. It took two and a half years. I had started on my teaching degree after high school, when US Airways called. The pay was a lot better than teaching back then, and we needed the family income. I always loved teaching, though, and thought that someday I would go back. I did my student teaching at Hopewell’s Independence Elementary. One of my professors at college recommended I check out this “PA Cyber School.” I had never heard of it. My first job here was as a math and reading tutor.

What subjects do you teach?
I teach in the Virtual Classroom, fifth grade math. I have 78 students in five classes per day. I love teaching. I learn something from them every day.  Early in my teaching career, one of my professors said, “Jill, you are someone who was truly born to teach,” and I feel that way, too.

How do you help students want to learn math?
You have to get students excited and make sure that they are having fun. If they don’t get excited they don’t learn. I show them how they use math in real life. I like to do projects more so than testing, because most students learn more by seeing and doing. For instance, I taught computer coding during the worldwide  “Hour of Code” event. You would be surprised at the kids who run with that, even in fifth grade.

Is it hard to connect with students through the computer?
I make a point of talking with every student in each of my classes every day. I call on them to do something or answer a question or share something they are doing outside of school. I make verbal contact with every single child every day. I’ve coached different sports over the years, and I feel that it has helped me motivate and connect with kids. I started coaching youth soccer when my daughter was young. She’s 22 now and graduated from college. I kind of moved up in coaching as she grew up and moved through the ranks. I coached softball at Center High School, and retired from that, only to be recruited by a buddy of mine, who called and said he needed help with the softball team at Carlow University.  I coached there for three years.

What do you do in your spare time?
I spend a lot of time with my family, and I love to swim and play golf. I’m an avid reader. The most recent book I read was Hillary Clinton’s book “Hard Choices” about her time as secretary of state. Now, I’m reading Maya Angelou’s “Mom & Me & Mom.” I have always been inspired by this courageous woman, who reminds us all that, “If you get, give….. if you learn, teach.”

I am humbled by this opportunity, and must say that I have benefitted and learned from all of the wonderful and highly skilled VC teachers here at PACyber. To me they are all teachers of the month, every month.

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