Story by Erika Scott
As a new teacher at Bishop Amat Memorial High School adapting to new surroundings can be hard, but coming back to a brand new semester brings new beginnings, and the student body welcomes Ms. Lisa Morales as Teacher of the Month of January because of her open mindedness and efforts in teaching Honors Math Analysis and Advanced Placement Calculus AB.
Ms. Morales did not plan to be a teacher but knew that she always liked math, until she was told by a professor in college that she explained something great and she should become a teacher. When it became official, she wasn’t sure if she should teach high school or college.
“I really liked math. I liked explaining it and that I could get through to people and help them understand a difficult subject,” she said.
She went for her doctorate degree after she finished her undergraduate degree and intended to teach at college level but after she finished her master’s degree she stopped and decided to teach at either a high school level or community college.
When Ms. Morales was asked why she chose Bishop Amat as her new workplace she said because it was the Catholic nature that she is most familiar with and also because Bishop Amat is recognized through its prestigious academics.
“I thought that, hey, I could maybe make a difference here,” she said.
Ms. Morales graduated from Pomona Catholic high school and was involved in ASB. The influence of her high school experience led Morales to want to partake in ASB once her first year is over, and also be involved in more Kairos retreats.
As for the Bishop Amat family, Morales states that she likes the community of the teachers.
“There’s a real camaraderie among the teachers here.” she said.
Ms.Morales does put plenty of time outside the classroom into her job. She has an Online Math Classroom for her AP Calculus AB and her Honors Math Analysis students.
“As a first year teacher I’d have to write my own lessons, solve all the problems assigned,” she said. “It’s definitely a lot of work on the outside but the online classroom helps keep me organized as well as I think be an extra resource.”
Sophomore Tayler Tovar-Allen likes Ms. Morales’s teaching method.
“She helps us grasp the concept of what we’re learning,” she said.
Even though Ms. Morales works outside of the classroom there is a quality of balance in her personal life because her husband is in a credential program to become a teacher so they are in similar situations.
Ms. Morales’ relationship with her students is not strictly based on math, students come to her for advice on college.
“I think that as time had gone on more students have approached me about college and different questions. I think I am able to relate because it’s not so long ago that I was there,” she said.
Junior Elizabeth Hopstock said Ms. Morales’s attitude is her favorite part of class.
“She is always willing to help us,” Hopstock said. “She’s patient with us and explains everything really well.”
Her success with teaching at Amat even surprised her.
“Sometimes when you’re sitting in a classroom and everyone is just staring, you are thinking, are they listening? Are they awake? Are they alive? Do they understand? Do they like me?” she said. “It’s good to know that at least some of you think that I’m worthy of this is awesome.”