Two Teachers, Learning Together
Dan and Alyza Morris barely knew each other as high-school classmates but wound up as undergraduates at the same college. Besides graduating together, they married, and both landed jobs teaching language arts at the same public school in New Hampshire.
So, it’s not surprising that, when they decided to further their educations, they simultaneously chose the Experienced Educators program at Antioch University New England (AUNE).
“We both wanted to get graduate degrees,” said Alyza. “They say that misery loves company. We figured that if we were going to take classes and write papers, we might as well do it together.”
Dan and Alyza earned their bachelor’s degrees from Keene State College, in history and education, respectively. For the past seven years, they’ve been employed by Three Rivers School, a public middle school in Pembroke, New Hampshire. He teaches seventh-grade language arts, and she grade eight.
Marking Art, and Connections
Beyond their classroom duties, the couple is actively involved in the arts. Both are longtime, frequent actors in community theater. Dan not only recently directed a play in Franklin, New Hampshire, but also is a talented musician who plays guitar and bass.
Together with a colleague, they run the school’s drama program, teaching youngsters about theater arts through a wide range of stage productions. Among the recent shows they’ve presented to local audiences are Honk! Junior-a contemporary, musical version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story The Ugly Duckling-and The Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan’s two-act comic opera.
“I like making connections with students, even beyond academic connections, really getting to know them,” said Alyza. “Ultimately, I’d like to be a guidance counselor. Dan’s dabbling with the idea of becoming a principal.”
Committed young educators, Dan and Alyza were already successful teachers before they came to AUNE. The master’s degree program gave them further tools and skills to better serve their students and their school. Prior to their 2008 graduation, they completed a joint project to help build their school into a stronger, collaborative learning community.
“AUNE absolutely helped both of us,” said Dan. “The program really helped me to refine my practice, and to become grounded in theories that are contemporary and usable in the classroom.”
Added Alyza: “We both really enjoyed the program immensely. We really loved Tom Julius. We had great experiences.”