Teachers of New Jersey: Morgan McCarthy, Preschool Teacher, Wayside School

Growing up, I definitely had low self-esteem. I was not the most confident, best version of myself, and that was for a multitude of reasons. I was definitely a little chubby, I wasn’t the cutest girl, and I got made fun of for it. I went to school in a very small town and everybody knew everyone, knew each other’s business and I definitely felt growing up like an outsider. I didn’t really find a niche group of people that I fit in with until I was much older, and I struggled with that growing up. There were some really rough times particularly when I was in middle school. I would come home and say I didn’t want to go to school anymore, and that broke my parents’ hearts, but they knew that that school system was the best place for me academically. And I mean, I was getting a lot out of my classes and I was in AP classes, but I wasn’t happy. But when I got to my senior year of high school, I met my two best friends and it was like we were the three musketeers. That one year kind of made it all worth it, and tied it all together. I was friends with people who were, not considered the ‘cool people,” or weren’t the most popular. At the point that I was graduating high school, I knew from experiences that I had in high school that I wanted to be a teacher because I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.

Like I said, I was friends with people who were not necessarily the most popular and who were made fun of. And really for no good reason, it was for superficial reasons, things that were out of people’s control, and I feel like that is unfair. People who are defenseless like because they were made fun of for things they couldn’t change, like making fun of kids who are special needs or may not be the cutest people, or who might be overweight, like those are things that they can’t control and I just saw them constantly being picked on, and torn down, myself included. I didn’t like it and I tried to intervene in those moments, and it would end up just backfiring on me because then I got made fun of. And when I graduated I knew that teaching would be a way to help others, and that was why I wanted to become a teacher. I love kids and that kind of just made that decision for me. Now I am a preschool teacher for an inclusive classroom, and I absolutely love it.

Interview by Gregory Andrus

Portraits of the Jersey Shore



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