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Jamison teacher earns national recognition for redefining teaching in the COVID-19 era

      Jamison Middle School math teacher Jamie Morlock has been recently named a 2021 Educator of the Year Award recipient by Instructure, home of Canvas LMS, a learning management system utilized by teachers and students grades 5-12 at Pearland ISD and worldwide.

      This award recognizes outstanding U.S. educators working to embrace remote learning, prepare students for the workforce and support student success and achievement in an evolving education landscape.

      Morlock was selected for truly excelling in an increasingly challenging environment and inspiring her colleagues and students in the process. When Pearland ISD shut down in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she pivoted seamlessly to designing content that was differentiated and allowed students to express their interests, creating choice with digital math menus. Her initiative also inspired other teachers to follow her lead and design models with individualized immediate feedback on skills that students struggle with most.

      “Receiving the award was a complete and total shock. It means so much to me that I was nominated by someone who felt I was deserving enough of this special recognition,” Morlock said. “I know how hard everyone in education worked through the pandemic and how much we all continue to work. There is no ‘normal’ anymore. We are constantly learning, revising, implementing new ideas/resources to make sure we are reaching the kids to the best of our ability.”

      As a teacher at a Title I school, Morlock supports at-risk populations and is constantly working to improve her craft by attending professional development, starting book studies and even checking out TikTok for recent exciting ideas or introducing fun activities like “Math Meme Monday.”

      “Last year, having to teach in person students and remote learners simultaneously was a challenge. I found social media (Facebook, Tik Tok, etc.) to be a great resource for implementing things that all kids enjoyed,” she said. “We started ‘Math Meme Mondays’. I started out showing them a few silly ones and then they would find ones and inbox them to me on Canvas. This helped us build our classroom community in a different way since COVID-19 protocols were in place.”

      Morlock finds that what keep her motivated are her students and coworkers.

      “I focus on building relationships with them. I want them to enjoy learning. I love being able to work with kids and help them change their mindset about their academic ability. I also love getting to encourage them and build their confidence,” she said. “My coworkers are also responsible for helping motivate me; collaboration in teaching is huge.”