Kudos to Kristal Morfa (Boston, '15). She recently accepted a position as an Empire Fellow with KIPP AMP in Brooklyn, NY.
Why have you decided to teach?
KM: I never thought about teaching until I joined Generation Teach. I always knew I wanted to work with kids and make education more accessible to first generation students like myself, but I always thought teaching wasn’t for me. I thought maybe I could do some background work that wasn’t as serious as leading a classroom. I realized not too long ago that the reason I didn’t want to teach was because I was scared. I was scared of the responsibility that comes with it and how much your students will look up to you as a role model and as a leader. Realizing this made me see that I absolutely have to try teaching. I know I have the capability to help students on more than just an academic level, but also on a personal level. Teaching is a profession that takes heart because you are a figure in a child’s life that can make or break their future.
Why did you choose KIPP? What support will you receive as a first year teacher?
KM: I chose to be part of KIPP because they have given so much to me over the last 12 years of my life that it made sense to give back to them. I owe them a lot! If it weren’t for KIPP I wouldn’t be getting my diploma in May. I specifically wanted to work with elementary school students because I believe that it is important to make good first impressions on students in the academic world so that they can succeed later on. As a first-year teacher, I will be receiving a ton of support. Similarly to GT, I will receive feedback on a regular basis and have a resident advisor who serves almost as a teacher coach. I’ll also be a student at the Relay Graduate School of Education receiving a master’s in teaching.
What are you most excited about?
KM: I can’t wait to work with this age group because they are so excited about everything! Children at this age are full of innocence and just want someone who’s willing to teach them everything they want to know. That takes a lot of patience and a love for children that not everyone has. I’m also excited that I’ll get to be in Brooklyn and close to family.
What did you learn from the job process? Were you asked to submit performance tasks, teach demo lessons, or answer unexpected questions?
KM: This application process did not require any performance tasks or demo lessons but they require you to submit video recordings of yourself answering questions. From this process, I learned to just be honest about who you are. During my final interview with KIPP, the principal asked me what someone who doesn’t like working with me would say my weakness is and I was very honest. For her, this was one of the things that really solidified me as a good candidate for the program.
Do you have any advice for your GT colleagues?
KM: Go for what you want! You’ll regret it later on if you don’t try. The easiest choice isn’t always the best choice and if you’re a dreamer with big goals and aspirations, it’s probably the least desirable choice so don’t hold back and aim high! Don’t take the easy route just because it’s safe.
What is your favorite memory from GT?
KM: One of my favorite memories from GT was that faculty meeting where we played Just Dance. It was awesome to see how much fun we could have and how silly we could get!