Friday, September 19, 2014

Live from your local High School


It has been a while....

a long while....

Let me reintroduce myself. My name is Swifty Morgan. I am a high school AG teacher. I spend most of my time working on classroom work or FFA activities. (Future Farmers of America).

Most of the blog posts have been related to my job. (Prior to teaching).
Some would call me a wanderer, and in a sense they are correct. I do what I want to do as long as I stay interested. Maybe it is a short attention span, or maybe I just seek adventure and go where the adventure is.

Prior to becoming a high school teacher I worked for one of the 10 largest police forces in the United States. I was hired by the police force shortly after graduating college. I went through their police academy, broke my rib, and quit when I realized I would have to redo the entire academy.

Before graduating I worked at a University as a resident assistant in a program for high school students completing college course work.

That RA job was the first 'real' job that I got without knowing someone working in the same company.

The 'longest' job I have had has also been one of my favorites. I worked at a boy scout camp in Oklahoma as a merit badge instructor. I absolutely loved this job. For 10 weeks out of the year I would pack up and live in a bunkhouse in Oklahoma teaching scouts.

Speaking of Oklahoma I have a funny student story from work this week.
Many of my students know I frequent Oklahoma, and I happened to be talking to a student of mine about bloodlines, and mentioned I am part Cherokee.
My student, remembering that I go to Oklahoma, asked if my Oklahoma trips were related to my Indian blood. In her words 'you know, like going back to visit...' and without missing a beat I said 'yup, I travel back to the tribal lands as much as possible'.
I am sure my students now think I am a big time Cherokee tribal member, but that is because they ask goofy questions.

I do love my job. Occasionally after the good weeks I see that there is money in my bank account and remember that someone pays me to do what I do.

Welcome back to The Life and Times of Swifty Morgan,

I promise to update more!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Are in-service days a day off?

When I was in school I never felt bad that teachers had to work on days like Columbus day. I figured school was pretty easy without all the kids around, so why feel sorry for them?

Now that I am a teacher I have a slightly different opinion. Let me share it with you.

8:30 am. I arrived at school to attend a PSAT proctor meeting. Lucky me, I get to proctor the PSAT test on Wednesday. I teach on Wednesday. I have no idea where my normal kids will go. I guess those 22 freshmen I have at 8:15 am will just find something to do.

9:00 am I went to the school wide meeting about home language surveys and other stuff for the Spanish kids. I learned how to fill out forms I will never use and what to do on certain committees I will never serve on.

10:00 am, the meeting begins to discuss 'Heat Maps' or some other way of telling what STAAR test objectives the kids can't do. I don't do STAAR or EOC testing so this is another class I just sit in the back and listen to.

11:00 am, finally I go to my office where on the main line we have a voicemail from a parent who is upset and wants to meet. Decide to go check on AG Barn to make sure nothing is horribly wrong before talking to parent and getting broadsided by something that happened over the weekend. I get to the barn and find one pen flooded by water. Could tell upset parent to fix it themselves, but another teacher and I tuck the jeans in the boots and get all muddy and smell like hogs fixing the pen.

12:00 pm. The one great thing about in-service day is getting to actually sit down and eat. Fajita Enchiladas for lunch made the day that much better.

1:00 pm Got back to school and set up rat traps to kill the rats that chewed through our acetylene torch hoses.

2:00pm In another meeting where I am told I will spend 2 days with my kids to help them fill out paperwork to pick a CTE career path in high school.

4:00pm Finally I get to sit in my office and work on my stuff.

5:00pm Back out at the AG barn to update a pen assignment chart. While I am there a student tells me a pig has its head stuck in a fence. I go over to help it and it wont budge. I turn to go get soap to try to free it and hit my face hard on a metal pipe. Face is bleeding and jaw is in a lot of pain so I awkwardly ask the student to see if I cracked any teeth or where the blood was coming from. Blood was from face not mouth which was good. Finally found a hacksaw to cut part of the bull panel fence. As soon as I put the hacksaw to the fence the pig did some weird twist and gets unstuck.

6:00pm Went to the grocery store to buy food for the week, found someones wallet in my cart and drove it to their house after buying food.

7:00pm Home! Time to eat, pull out the computer, and start filling out paperwork.....

I think I will be looking forward to when the students come back and people just let me teach.

Oh the joys of an AG teacher.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 at school

Today is September 11th 2013. The twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As many of you know, I am a high school teacher. Many of my friends ask if I was going to talk about 9/11 with my classes today. I told them all NO. I said that 9/11 happened 12 years ago. Many of my students were 1-4 years old at the time and wouldn't remember it anyway. I told them that if we all spend a day remembering 9/11 then the people that work every day to disrupt American life have won, our students waste a day of class discussing 9/11. It is something that should be done in history classes. Not the agriculture classes Mr. Swifty Morgan teaches.

Then I went to school and got to thinking.

My students hear the same stories from adults about what happened that day, but they never get to hear what it was like as a sixth grader.

I told my class that I was in sixth grade in September of 2001, and that my sixth grade teacher got a phone call that something 'bad had happened'. So we turned on the TV. My teacher calmly explained that the smoke from the first tower was likely a bomb set off by terrorists. When the sixth grade mind (in 2001) hears the word terrorist, they have no idea what that means. So my quick on her feet sixth grade teacher told us that sometimes when a new president takes office people go out and create problems to test him. They make bad things happen to see how he will respond.

Then the second plane hit and our teacher turned it off and told us that we needed to get back to work. About that time I went to the gifted and talented room where we proceeded to leave the TV on the news all day long.

By 2:45 when I left school I had seen everything live. 2nd plane crash, towers collapse, everything.

What I was able to share with my students was the things I saw and how it felt to be a kid at that time in American history.

I talked about how the sky was silent. Growing up near an international airport and suddenly hearing no planes was quite noticeable. I emphasized that ALL air traffic was stopped.

I also talked about remembering that America seemed to be a much more God fearing country than it was today. The evening of the 11th some important leaders stood on the steps of the capitol and sang 'God bless America'. This was on live TV! I feel that today this would never be broadcasted or even sang.

I talked about how for MONTHS after the attack most vacant billboards, and those signs businesses have to advertise specials all said 'God Bless America'. I talked about how in the year after 9/11 it was a different America. People prayed in schools, people valued family more, people felt the loss and clung to what was good. Today at my school, the principal forgot the moment of silence. (We have one every day).

I talked to my students about how in the months after 9/11 our government appeared to function much more efficiently and how we should all be embarrassed that it takes such a large tragedy to get over the left wing and right wing differences.

I told my students that many people today still suffer from the effects of 9/11, but emotionally and physically. Many police officers and firemen who were not killed at the scene, but worked ground zero have developed cancers and are rapidly dying due to the chemicals and fumes they exposed themselves to in the attempt to save lives.

One of my students asked me to talk about the New World Order and their involvement in the events. I told him that today was about remembering the victims and that he should avoid falling prey to the many smooth talking you-tube videos and radio hosts that claim 9/11 was staged or planned by our leaders.

One of my students then asked if I thought Bush did a good job with it. I told him yes. I told him that all of our country did a great job responding to 9/11. I told him that when I visited ground zero in January 2011, it was so much more real to me after seeing the new construction and the memorials. NYC was not just some far away place on TV, but I had walked the streets where people were running away from falling buildings, where firemen sat and cried knowing their best friends were killed as the building was falling. I told him our country showed great restraint by not unleashing a hell of firepower upon the people that caused this. We could have completely destroyed entire countries harboring terrorists. Instead we chose the more difficult and costly task of fighting the terrorists and not the innocent people. I told him to remember that it was not the country of Iraq or Afghanistan that attacked us, but a select group of people within those countries, and we are still a country at war. Never forget we STILL have boots on the ground, actively fighting the war on terror.

Then the bell rang.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A New Chapter in Life


As many of you know my life has changed a lot in the last year.
Since graduation at UNT I became a police officer, then decided I didn't like the 'big city' of Dallas or the thought of spending my working life away from family, working nights, dealing with crackheads, dealing with pessimistic and dishonest officers (just google search 'Dallas officer fired' and you will get PLENTY of examples), and working for ''the man''. So I threw in the towel. Swifty Morgan was only 22 years old and was already counting down the days to pension plan vesting. What a lame way to live. So the plan was to stick around with DPD until May. Then go work for my favorite Boy Scout camp in Oklahoma, and start obtaining my teacher certification in August so that I could potentially be in the classroom starting August 2014. But, just when I had all the dates worked out God had a different plan. And that plan was good!

In December I sustained a broken rib due to a training exercise with one of those over-zealous, 'just here to fight people', unable to follow instructions, type recruits. He was going 100% in a hand to hand combat exercise and broke my rib with his poor technique. I was ineligible to work out or participate in any academy training. It was only a matter of a week or two before I would miss training that could not be made up. This would cause me to be 'recycled' and have to either start the academy over or at least stay in an extra 12 weeks. At this point I began contacting Texas A&M commerce and was accepted into their program starting in January!  What a blessing! I then stuck around in the academy for another week or two. I remember planning my last day for the day we went back to the shooting range. Why? Because I love getting paid to shoot guns :) Let me state that again, and I don't mean to brag, but I LOVE to shoot guns, and getting paid to shoot my Sig P226 (approximately 150 rounds) is worth sticking around a few days for.

So I left the academy, and was promptly enrolled in school. I took several agriculture classes in the spring while working at home depot. I have PLENTY of home depot stories, but that is for some other time :p

In May I went back to work for the Boy Scouts teaching Welding Merit Badge and Hale Scout Reservation. One weekend I drove back to A&M Commerce and took the content portion of my teacher certification. A few weeks later I got the results. PASS!
That meant I could start applying for teaching jobs.

I applied every day for teaching jobs. Every waking moment I had at camp was spent working or applying for jobs.Camp ended and I went to Kansas to visit my Grandparents at ''Camp Grandma". While preparing to go fishing I got a call from one of the districts I had previously talked to, they told me that they were in need of a 5th AG teacher! They passed on me for their 4th teacher, but I was told on Friday to be in Elgin on Monday. So I drove back to Texas quick! On Monday I drove down to Elgin. I remember thinking the whole way down there how much I loved the scenery and could see myself living there. I interviewed with the two assistant principals. Afterwards, one of them came out and told me I did an excellent job! I had such a great time in the interview and really liked the campus and town. I kept praying that Elgin would call me before Wednesday because I had an interview in Levelland TX, (West of Lubbock) and they started teacher development on Thursday. I really did not want to live west of Lubbock, but if that's what it took to get a job I would do it.

Fortunately Elgin called on Tuesday and told me to come back on Thursday to fill out paperwork!

A week and a half later I moved to Elgin and started training on the 13th of August. 13 days later school started. And as I write this I have finished my first two weeks of teaching!

I love my job. I love the town. I love the school. I am so blessed to have this opportunity.

Now for the part of this post you have been waiting for:
The on-the-job stories!

Just yesterday I was teaching my Principles of Agriculture course. I was having students get on the computer to develop a powerpoint timeline of Agriculture in a certain decade. One student cried out 'Mr. Swifty Morgan!, what is this picture of?!?' I walked over to the student, she was looking at a picture of a man standing next to a large pile of lettuce. I told her that was just a man next to a bunch of vegetables. She shrieked out and said that was gross! I asked if she ever ate lettuce or vegetables. She got a discusted look on her face and said 'NO! That junk come from the ground! It's all dirty!'' It was almost hard not to laugh out loud. OF COURSE vegetables come from the ground, but she didn't want to eat them because they were grown. I wanted to ask her if she ate beef or hamburgers and how she thought that ground beef was 'created' but as a profession I felt I should refrain from doing so.

I had a student the other day that went nuts during my class. In my wildlife management course I showed a video about dove hunting on the Friday before dove season. I had a student exclaim that she couldn't watch a video about dove hunting because she was a vegetarian! Heaven forbid a vegetarian have to watch someone shoot and clean a dove. A little background on the student, she has super short dyed hair, and is.. well the best way to put it, she lives an 'alternative' lifestyle. So what I really wanted to tell her was that she should be more open minded to different cultures and believes. Tell her that people respected and did not judge her for her 'lifestyle' but instead I told her she could go to the back of the room and write about what she had learned thus far in the course. She refused and decided to play on her phone. I took her phone away and told her to come get it back from me in my office. She threw a fit but eventually left after the class. During the next period she came back and wanted to get her phone during 7th period. I had her read the note I gave her asking her to retrieve it after school. She started swearing and walked off. When she finally came to my office I gave her the iPhone back as well as a schedule change form. I told her that her personal believes may conflict with the course and that she should probably seek a course that better aligns with her educational 'goals'. She was out of the course by Monday.

I hate pawning a student off to some other teacher, but hopefully the student will enjoy small engine repair more than wildlife.

 -- More on my life outside teaching --

Today I rode my bicycle to a nearby town to look at a bridge. That's right. I rode almost 21 miles to look at a bridge. I also need the exercise, but hey, I wanted to see this bridge.

I live near the bridge from a scene in secondhand lions. When the kids jumps out of the car at the end of the movie and tells his mom she should do something for him, that was filmed in Coupland Texas. I road my bicycle down many dirt roads to get to this old steel bridge.
Here are some pictures from my trip:
 I started my trip to scattered showers.
 Shortly after I got a good picture of a rainbow near an old barn.
 Then the sky looked like this to the west. What a great view. I really hope someday when I get to heaven God will give me a few lessons in how he creates this art.
 Cows in a field, with a rainbow, I had to take a picture.
 Panorama from an iPhone.
 Cattle, Rainbow, and White birds in a dark sky.
 This is the bridge I rode so far to see.
 I think this is the right angle like the movie. This is the bridge from Secondhand lions. Specifically the part where the kid jumps from the car and tells his mom to leave him with the two old me.
 It is a pretty cool bridge.
Finally on my way back the sunset was beautiful. This is looking towards Round Rock/ Georgetown Texas from the area between Coupland and Elgin.

I love my new home and can't wait to have more adventures.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Long time, no posts.

I need to get back to posting stories on this blog. I am in front of kids 6.5 hours per day. They say and do the goofiest things.

Expect something soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Swifty Morgan asks his favorite cowgirl to become his wife.

Lots has changed since I used to blog about high school kids doing goofy things in the college world. I haven't really blogged much last fall, so let me fill you in exactly where I am in life. Sit back, pop some popcorn, and enjoy.

I graduated North Texas in May of 2012. Went to Oklahoma for a little bit, left for what I thought was to be my dream career. Stuck with it for 1/2 a year, got tasered, maced, had my rib broken by an overly aggressive odd fellow from California, and realized. I am 22 years old. Under no circumstances did I want anything to do with this career for my life. So I said "Adios!" and went back to school to pursue something I really believe I have been called to do for quite some time now. I suppose it just helps if you listen. Anyway, more on that in later blog posts.

So I realized I've been hangin' out with this cute gal for five and a half years. I figured I should probably start a' thinkin' about making her Mrs. Swifty Morgan. Figured it was time to get engaged, figured maybe it was time to settle down... quit roaming the west goin' adventuring. What am I talking about, she goes adventuring with me!

So as many of you know, Swifty Morgan is one of the biggest pranksters, most ornery folks you've ever met. I couldn't just flat out ask her! I had to surprise her, and big time. Unfortunately for me she knows me to be one of the most ornery folks she has ever met and fully expected this to be a surprise.

So I set my little pea-brain to work a thinkin', dangerous I know, and came up with a scheme. I took her out to several things and on lots of dates in the 3-4 days leading up to the day I asked her. I also played it up that I was some idiot (wasn't hard) who didn't know a thing about rings or engagements or anything! So I had this girl convinced that we were going to go looking at rocks. Most people call that prospecting, but I guess in civilized company it is 'ring shopping'.... ugh, a downright scary process.

Little did she know, I already had this all picked out. ;)

So on the 'big' day that we were going to go shopping I let her know about an hour before that a new geocache had popped up in the area and I HAD to be the first to find it!

For those of you who don't know what geocaching is visit or read the boy scout merit badge guide for the activity.

So we went a hunting..... HEY LOOK! WHAT'S THAT PIPE??
 I don't know! This must be it! open it up!
 Oh my! Inside the log is a ring? Wait what? Will I marry you?? YES!!!
 Mission complete!
So Swifty pulled off a good one on her. She didn't expect it at all!

Here is her ring next to the promise ring I gave her several years ago. I hand made that promise ring out of a silver quarter.

And afterwards, just as a joke, I took her to get some ice cream... Why? Her Mom told her she would never get a boyfriend because she used to be a messy ice cream eater, but what kid didn't?
Guess her Mom was wrong about that one!
Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Stay tuned for more!

Oh, and my old Phoenix teacher would be proud, I proposed in Walden Park, at the corner of Thoreau Lane and Emerson Dr. and remembered who those folks are!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That was quick.

Well, the semester is 1.5 weeks from being over. And fortunately for me, this is my LAST semester in college. Unfortunately there have been almost 0 stories from my work this semester. Sorry to disappoint y'all. I didn't try to create any action either. My wing of seniors has been so drama free. This weekend is checkout weekend so hopefully there will be SOMETHING interesting. Last year I spent 4 hours checking out one room because the students didn't understand that it was NOT OK to have mold on their toilet and visible dust on every other surface. Frustrating to say the least.

Stay tuned, I start scout camp in 2 weeks. And working with 5th graders - seniors in high school will provide ample stories. Scoutmasters may also provide copious amounts of entertainment.

Exams next week, here we come!