I recently read an article online titled, “15 reasons why I love living in a small town.” Although I don’t live in a small town, I work in one, and this article hit home on several levels for me.
This fall marks my third year to work at Morton ISD. Living in Lubbock and driving to Morton every day takes a little time to get to school. But it is worth it. I would not consider working anywhere else. And now my wife and daughter are also working for Morton ISD, we all love it.
My Lubbock friends often ask, “why do you want to drive that far to work every day?” For me, the answer is simple. Because I love working here and the drive is insignificant.
I previously worked for Lubbock ISD. In the 2016-2017 school year, I began having some significant health issues. Between October 2016 and March 2017, I was in the hospital three times, had my gall bladder out, had coronary surgery, lost the use of my lower back and left leg and was having to use a cane to walk. I was afraid I was going to have to retire from teaching or take disability. One thing I knew for sure was I had to make a change.
So after resigning from Coronado High School, I went into therapy for my back and legs. A lot of frustrating therapy and doctor visits left me feeling really depressed.
Finally, I saw a chiropractor who did spinal decompressions and a lot of intensive work on my lower back. I finally got better and decided I could look for teaching work again. That’s when I found Morton.
Morton posted on the Region 17 ESC site for a technology teacher and I forwarded my resume to them. They called the next morning requesting an interview. The high school principal was not going to be available to interview me, but the Superintendent was. I interviewed with Mrs. Saunders the next morning.
Two days later they called and offered me a position teaching technology, media arts, and yearbook in high school. Making the decision to accept that position is the best professional decision I ever made.
The town is small and there is not a whole lot here. But what is here is a great community. A great sense of pride in the community and in the school. And some of the best people I ever worked with.
Why do I love Morton? I love that I know just about every student in high school. I love that I can do programs at the Elementary school like the after-school stamp collecting club. I love the fact that even though I am not from here, they still consider me family.
But what is special is the support I receive from the school district, the Superintendent, the School board, and all of the parents and family members. They are some of the friendliest, most helpful and compassionate people I have ever known.
I am in the process of trying to build a media broadcast program here and at the same time restore the libraries. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of funding. As you might expect, funding is always in short supply in a small school district. But this school board and administration have gone out of their way to find sources of funding and try to help me make this dream become a reality.
I have constant support from parents as well. Many of them have befriended me and send me notes, texts, and emails of encouragement. Something I never got in the big school district. It means the world to me and often keeps me going.
So, I am so blessed to have found the place where I belong. Where I feel like I am making at least a tiny difference. And where I believe I can build a program that will benefit our students and our schools for years to come. Where I am happy. Where my health has actually improved due to less stress.
So, why do I drive 60 miles each way every day to work? I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
For more on small-town living: https://www.theodysseyonline.com.