Cami Morgan, Spanish Teacher at Milford High School (MHS), was named MHS Teacher of the Year. She has been with the Milford School District for 10 years, all of which have been teaching high school students a foreign language.
Born and raised in Milford, Ms. Morgan gained her love of the spanish language from her best friend Daikiri Villa, who she met the first day of high school at Sussex Tech. Daikiri’s parents are originally from Puerto Rico and would only speak to Cami in spanish when she came over to visit. Morgan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Education from the University of Delaware and over 10 years later, Ms. Morgan and Ms. Villa teach MHS students spanish in adjacent classrooms. She states that her unique experience of how she learned the spanish language helps her understand the challenges her students face while learning another language.
“I picked up a lot of spanish just from listening to Daikiri’s parents which helps me understand my native speaking students and how they learned the language from hearing it,” commented Morgan. “Once I started taking spanish courses in college I found it difficult to understand grammar and conjugating verbs, and from that I understand the thought process of my students that are learning spanish for the first time.”
Teaching grades 10, 11 and 12, Morgan imparts on her students that learning spanish is not just a class based in the memorization of foreign words, but a study of diverse cultures. She acknowledges that many of her students will not remember all of the grammar or verb conjugation they learned in her class years later but she states that they do remember the cultural experiences presented to them through learning the language.
“They do remember the cultural activities that we do in the classroom like when we explain to them about cultural celebrations such as Day of the Dead,” commented Morgan. “I want them to think outside of the Milford bubble and realize things that are important throughout other parts of the world.”
Morgan believes that learning any language is beneficial for students at the high school level. She says it teaches them about diversity within their own community and even assists them to understand the english language better.
“We have become such a diverse culture and learning spanish allows them to communicate with more people and gives them more opportunities after they graduate,” commented Morgan. “Learning spanish also helps them to learn more about their own language and gives them a background in grammar, tenses and verb conjugation.”
Ten years teaching spanish to high school students, Morgan is also a critical part of many extracurricular activities for the students including Spanish Honors Society, the Gay Straight Alliance and the Students for a Million Acts of Kindness (SMAK) program. She is proud of the work students have done in and out of the classroom to proactively make MHS a more positive learning environment.
“It has been a very good experience working with SMAK,” commented Morgan. “Different groups of kids are coming together to work on the program. It has allowed students to step up and become leaders.”
Morgan will now compete at the district level, against her peers in the Milford School District, where the winner of that competition will face distinguished teachers from across the state of Delaware.