Morgan Bridgeford is a senior Elementary Education major from Bristow, Oklahoma. Recently The Eagle spoke with her about her passion for teaching children.
Eagle: Why did you decide to major in Elementary Education?
Morgan: Do you have time for a story?
Morgan: My senior year in high school, I was in a leadership class and we went to do a volunteer project at a homeless shelter in Tulsa. There was a lady there named Mamie who used to be a college professor, but God had called her to live with the homeless. So we were all there, praying with Mamie and I had been praying for months before and I knew I was going to OKWU but I didn’t know what I was going to do in life. When we got done praying, Mamie turned to me and said, “God wants you to teach.” That was it right there, that was my calling. The passion has built from that moment.
Eagle: Did you know Mamie before that moment?
Morgan: No. That was the first time we ever met her. We had brought bibles and the people at the shelter were always saying, “Oh, you have Bibles — you have to meet Mamie!” So we went and talked to her and before we left she prayed for us and she turned to me and told me that. So that was very much verbal affirmation that that’s what I’m supposed to do.
Eagle: Before that moment, did you have any idea that you wanted to go into education?
Morgan: No, I never wanted to work with children.
Morgan: I couldn’t imagine not working with children now.
Eagle: So why did you decide to come to OKWU? Where’s your hometown?
Morgan: My hometown is Bristow, Oklahoma and I’ve driven through Bartlesville since I was born going on 75 to Kansas to visit my mom’s family. I never knew there was a college in this town. So my senior year I got the email from Oklahoma Wesleyan, and they kept bugging me and emailing me and finally I got to check it out on a skip day. So me and my dad came here and something about the campus, it’s just beautiful and it has a great atmosphere and I just knew this was where I wanted to go. I didn’t even check out any other campuses after that.
Eagle: Has going to OKWU helped you grow in any areas of your life?
Morgan: Very much so, it’s helped me develop my Christian character for sure because being young and 18 you’re a little naïve, and being surrounded by a group of people who love the Lord and have as many faults as I do, it’s kinda helped me realize I’m not perfect, and I’ll make mistakes, but I will get back up each time I fall. And then in the education department I have grown so much because I started off knowing nothing about education and being a teacher, whereas now I feel very prepared and ready to go into a classroom. I didn’t know if I would ever get to that point, but these past two years have really helped.
Eagle: What would you say you’re most passionate about?
Morgan: I’m most passionate about children, especially the ones who are deprived of love and care from their own families.
Eagle: What are your hobbies?
Morgan: Oh gosh, I don’t have many hobbies but I like to read, I like to knit; I’m very old-spirited. Every once in a while I’ll play Madden on Xbox.
Eagle: Knitting and Madden, that is quite the combo. Do you have a favorite moment from your time at OKWU?
Morgan: My favorite moment for me was my student teaching. At the end of it, I had a very difficult student and you know, you have those days where you go in and you think to yourself, “Is this really for me, is this really what God has called me to do? And then you have the student who gives you the most heck, that causes you to just have to bite your tongue every day, who comes and tells you, “You’re gonna make a great teacher someday.” So then you think to yourself, “This is what I’m meant to do, I can make it.” And even though that student may throw a pencil at another student 5 seconds later, you still have those brief moments, those brief glimpses of joy and honesty that you get from all the students, whether the students are well-behaved or not.”
Eagle: Do you have any funny moments from student-teaching that you would be willing to share?
Morgan: So, as girls we do the wavy hair look at times, so I did that once during student-teaching and I’m normally straight-haired. A student walks in as I’m greeting the class at the door like I usually do, and this girl stops, she walks backwards, does a double-glance at me, and she goes, “Ms. Bridgeford, you look like you haven’t brushed your hair in a while.” And then she went and took a seat. I couldn’t help but smile and say, “Thank you for your honesty, I appreciate it.”
Eagle: When you lived on campus, did it help you get involved in the OKWU community?
Morgan: Yes, I’m a very shy person, and I typically stay to myself. Living on campus forced me out of that shell, and if it wasn’t for living on campus I don’t think I would know a single person on campus. So it pushed me out of my comfort zone, it made me interact with groups that I wouldn’t normally interact with, and I’ve made life-long friendships because of that.
Eagle: You said you’re shy — so how does a shy person get up in front of a classroom and teach? Since your students are young, is it easier to teach them?
Morgan: Yes, because they’re young, I just go up in front of them and tell them, “I make mistakes just like you, we’re both gonna make mistakes this year, I want you to help me when I make mistakes, and I will help you when you make mistakes.” So in front of children, it’s less intimidating than it is an adult because you’re judged more and evaluated more by an adult, but children are open and honest, they forgive easily, and see past your faults.