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Jonathan Perlman, founder of Tradition Senior Living in Houston & Dallas, TX.

“After lunch, she always treated us to a story. In a clear and vivid voice, she introduced us to exotic locales, introduced us to memorable characters, ingrained in us the value of literature, and—along the way—helped us to understand ourselves.”

A Student

Betty Morgan’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes put on patriotic plays, had “bring-your-dog-to-class days,” took tests outside under the trees, and generally had fun while learning serious subjects.  Oh—and every child was made to feel important. 

“I will always be grateful to have been a teacher,” said Betty, who taught five years at Longfellow Elementary after graduating from SMU, took five years off when her two children were born, then taught at Hyer Elementary for the next 28 years.  “I miss it to this day.”

And they miss her.  On the day she retired from teaching at 65, Hyer gave her a surprise thank-you party.  PTA President at the time, Leslie Melson, invited every student that Betty had ever taught, and she also asked them to send in testimonials.  An enormous book—a tome—of written memories with photographs is a cherished possession to this day.

On her recent 90th birthday (she looks 15 years younger), cards from former students poured in.  One student, now a lawyer, called her and voiced a sentiment she has heard often: “You do know that your year was my favorite year of all.”

“I always wanted to teach,” said Betty, who first practiced on her dolls and two younger sisters while sitting on the stairs of their house on Maplewood.  

Before she became the real thing, however, her father taught her an important lesson.  “My father was a Doctor, and he would take me on calls with him when I was a little girl.  I got to see how he treated his patients.  That experience helped me treat each student as an individual.”  

As we sit comfortably in her exquisite apartment at The Tradition-Lovers Lane, filled with English antiques, she reminisces.  One of her early experiences as a teacher, she says, was teaching Sunday School at Highland Park Methodist Church.  “Right up high is my cross,” she says, pointing to a crystal cross tucked within green plants over two beautiful botanical prints. 

Betty Morgan’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes put on patriotic plays, had “bring-your-dog-to-class days,” took tests outside under the trees, and generally had fun while learning serious subjects.  Oh—and every child was made to feel important. 

“I will always be grateful to have been a teacher,” said Betty, who taught five years at Longfellow Elementary after graduating from SMU, took five years off when her two children were born, then taught at Hyer Elementary for the next 28 years.  “I miss it to this day.”

And they miss her.  On the day she retired from teaching at 65, Hyer gave her a surprise thank-you party.  PTA President at the time, Leslie Melson, invited every student that Betty had ever taught, and she also asked them to send in testimonials.  An enormous book—a tome—of written memories with photographs is a cherished possession to this day.

On her recent 90th birthday (she looks 15 years younger), cards from former students poured in.  One student, now a lawyer, called her and voiced a sentiment she has heard often: “You do know that your year was my favorite year of all.”

“After lunch, she always treated us to a story. In a clear and vivid voice, she introduced us to exotic locales, introduced us to memorable characters, ingrained in us the value of literature, and—along the way—helped us to understand ourselves.”

A Student

“I always wanted to teach,” said Betty, who first practiced on her dolls and two younger sisters while sitting on the stairs of their house on Maplewood.  

Before she became the real thing, however, her father taught her an important lesson.  “My father was a Doctor, and he would take me on calls with him when I was a little girl.  I got to see how he treated his patients.  That experience helped me treat each student as an individual.”  

As we sit comfortably in her exquisite apartment at The Tradition-Lovers Lane, filled with English antiques, she reminisces.  One of her early experiences as a teacher, she says, was teaching Sunday School at Highland Park Methodist Church.  “Right up high is my cross,” she says, pointing to a crystal cross tucked within green plants over two beautiful botanical prints. 

TLL_web_ad (1)

“I lived in a good time to teach. 
Every Monday,
the students
learned a new
Bible verse.  We
said the pledge
of allegiance every day.  We were family.”  

Betty Morgan

This last year has not been easy for her.  Her beloved husband of almost 69 years, “Jimmy,” passed away.  She manages, though, even now to radiate joy.

Memories of teaching surface.  “Discipline was not a problem.  I believe in the reward system.  I had
Mrs. Morgan’s E-Booklet for ‘Excellent Behavior.’ For 10 Es, they got Cokes from the teacher’s lounge.  For 15 Es, pizza during lunch.”      

Before she let her students take tests under the trees, she would ask them, “Would you like to know about West Point?  Those students are on the honor system.  You are, too.  You are going to have to sign a paper ‘I never gave nor received information during this test.’”

There were occasional discipline challenges.  “One boy went to recess and clobbered another boy.  I knew he was basically a gentleman,” said Betty.  “I told him, ‘I am so surprised at you!  (He started crying.)  Does that need to happen again?’  ‘No ma’am.’  And it didn’t.”

She continues… “I lived in a good time to teach.  Every Monday, the students learned a new Bible verse.  We said the pledge of allegiance every day.  We were family.”  

As a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher, Betty taught everything except music, art, and PE.  She especially loved teaching math, but whatever the subject, she was delighted seeing the face of a child when something dawned on him or her.    

“I am outspoken.  At the party on my last day, one boy came in a scrub suit—he was an intern in medical school.  ‘Now, you smoke (I could smell it.). Darlin’, it doesn’t go with medicine.’  He quit that night.”

Her tome of testimonies (heavy to lift) is filled with photos of students as well as messages from grateful students and their parents.  

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“As a working writer, I owe a lasting debt to the woman who first made literature an indispensable part of my day.” 

A Student

The following is a tiny sampling of students’ testimonies:

  • Mrs. Morgan was young and very good-looking, which was unusual for a teacher in “those days!”
  • I was having trouble reading, and she gave me continuous encouragement.  I still love to read.
  • My favorite project was “Colonial Day.” It made history a reality.
  • After lunch, she always treated us to a story. In a clear and vivid voice, she introduced us to exotic locales, introduced us to memorable characters, ingrained in us the value of literature, and—along the way—helped us to understand ourselves.
  • As a working writer, I owe a lasting debt to the woman who first made literature an indispensable part of my day. 
  • Now that I have begun to teach, I am inspired to try to teach like you did, with kindness, firmness, respect, and belief in the great possibilities of each individual.
  • My favorite project was the 5th-grade play, “Spirit of 1776,” because I was ‘Baron Frederick Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhardt Augustine Von Steuben.’
  • Bring-your-dog-to-class day was my favorite.  Too bad mine howled until it got sent home.
  • The best thing Mrs. Morgan taught me was how to have fun and learn at the same time!
  • The best thing Mrs. Morgan taught me was how to act like a lady.
  • You made me feel special. You were a teacher that cared about each student individually.

“I was always huggin’,” she said with her wonderful smile. “Loving is easy, it’s automatic.”

Clearly, loving is automatic for Betty Morgan—one extraordinary teacher.

By Linda Faulkner Johnston—The Tradition

This last year has not been easy for her.  Her beloved husband of almost 69 years, “Jimmy,” passed away.  She manages, though, even now to radiate joy.

Memories of teaching surface.  “Discipline was not a problem.  I believe in the reward system.  I had Mrs. Morgan’s E-Booklet for ‘Excellent Behavior.’ For 10 Es, they got Cokes from the teacher’s lounge.  For 15 Es, pizza during lunch.”      

Before she let her students take tests under the trees, she would ask them, “Would you like to know about West Point?  Those students are on the honor system.  You are, too.  You are going to have to sign a paper ‘I never gave nor received information during this test.’”

There were occasional discipline challenges.  “One boy went to recess and clobbered another boy.  I knew he was basically a gentleman,” said Betty.  “I told him, ‘I am so surprised at you!  (He started crying.)  Does that need to happen again?’  ‘No ma’am.’  And it didn’t.”

“I lived in a good time to teach.  Every Monday, the students learned a new Bible verse.  We said the pledge of allegiance every day.  We were family.”  

Betty Morgan

She continues… “I lived in a good time to teach.  Every Monday, the students learned a new Bible verse.  We said the pledge of allegiance every day.  We were family.”  

As a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher, Betty taught everything except music, art, and PE.  She especially loved teaching math, but whatever the subject, she was delighted seeing the face of a child when something dawned on him or her.    

“I am outspoken.  At the party on my last day, one boy came in a scrub suit—he was an intern in medical school.  ‘Now, you smoke (I could smell it.). Darlin’, it doesn’t go with medicine.’  He quit that night.”

Her tome of testimonies (heavy to lift) is filled with photos of students as well as messages from grateful students and their parents. 

TLL_web_ad (1)

The following is a tiny sampling of students’ testimonies:

  • Mrs. Morgan was young and very good-looking, which was unusual for a teacher in “those days!”
  • I was having trouble reading, and she gave me continuous encouragement.  I still love to read.
  • My favorite project was “Colonial Day.” It made history a reality.
  • After lunch, she always treated us to a story. In a clear and vivid voice, she introduced us to exotic locales, introduced us to memorable characters, ingrained in us the value of literature, and—along the way—helped us to understand ourselves.
  • As a working writer, I owe a lasting debt to the woman who first made literature an indispensable part of my day. 
  • Now that I have begun to teach, I am inspired to try to teach like you did, with kindness, firmness, respect, and belief in the great possibilities of each individual.
  • My favorite project was the 5th-grade play, “Spirit of 1776,” because I was ‘Baron Frederick Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhardt Augustine Von Steuben.’
  • Bring-your-dog-to-class day was my favorite.  Too bad mine howled until it got sent home.
  • The best thing Mrs. Morgan taught me was how to have fun and learn at the same time!
  • The best thing Mrs. Morgan taught me was how to act like a lady.
  • You made me feel special. You were a teacher that cared about each student individually.

“I was always huggin’,” she said with her wonderful smile. “Loving is easy, it’s automatic.”

Clearly, loving is automatic for Betty Morgan—one extraordinary teacher.

 

By Linda Faulkner Johnston—The Tradition

“As a working writer, I owe a lasting debt to the woman who first made literature an indispensable part of my day.” 

A Student

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