Why “Mother Morgan”?

It’s not because I’m a mom.  I earned the moniker “Mother Morgan” when I was a high school English teacher. 

At some point soon after I began working there, one of my students asked in a carrying voice, “Mrs. Morgan, are you pregnant?”  Every woman loves to hear this question, particularly when she is neither pregnant nor especially happy about it.  In response, I answered, “No, sweetie.  I’m not pregnant — just fat.”  I wasn’t actually fat at that point, but had a little pot belly I couldn’t lose, no matter what I tried.

Well, not to be quelled, another student asked, “Don’t you want kids?”  The truth is, I wanted kids very badly, but my husband and I hadn’t been able to conceive. 

“Well,” I answered, “that’s a personal question and not something you should be asking me.  However, know that you’re my kids as long as you’re in my English class.  I’m the person who will be on you like white on rice if you screw up, and I’ll be your cheerleader when you succeed.  Don’t think you can pass my class just by showing up, and don’t think I will let you fail without a fight.”

At some point, a few of the students began to refer to me as Mother Morgan.  It stuck.  New students would come into the room terrified of me, the “mean teacher” but they’d still be calling me “Mother Morgan” — weird, but nice.

Some of them still do, in fact, ten years after I left the classroom.  They send me messages on Facebook, asking me to read something they’ve written, or just a quick note to say hello. 

My own kids think it’s funny.  When I asked them what sort of teacher they think I must have been, they tell me “mean”, “strict” and “able to see stuff through walls” — whatever that means.

I went from being “Mother Morgan” to being a mom.  I love that the word still applies, and that I have new pupils of my own to care for and raise.

Mother Morgan’s still around.  She’s just a little more pudgy and more gray, and she does a lot more laundry than back in the day.  She loves every minute of it.



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10 responses to “Why “Mother Morgan”?

  1. Wonderful post! My two favorite teachers ever (and I was blessed with so many good ones) were the ones who required the most from me. Teachers rock!

    My “L” post is right here: http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/2011/04/long-long-list.html

  2. Awesome post! I remember a couple of teachers of mine way back when that were a lot like you. I wish I could thank them for not letting me off easy and got me to push my limits…beyond them sometimes. Teachers definitely rock!

  3. That’s wonderful and it’s a term that endears them to you.

    My wife works with children who have emotional and behavioral problems, and some of them who are now grown up also are friends of hers on Facebook, fondly looking back on how she helped to “save” them and direct them to where they are today.

  4. Nice post. I can remember a few “mean teachers” that ended up being really cool.

    I’m doing the a-z blogging challenge too 😉

  5. I had a few teachers that really stood out.

  6. that is so beautiful – it’s wonderful that we all have students – and teachers that we will remember forever.

  7. Excellent post!! Two of my sisters are teachers and I remember several of mine very fondly. I respect you guys immensely!

  8. I have been a teacher (educator) in elementary school for 31 years. The best part is to see what influence I have had on kids that come back to visit and tell me about their lives. I love it. Beautiful blog.

  9. I’m stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  10. So sweet. I love hearing about the Mother Morgan background. I did wonder. Super post!

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life