From homeschool student to public school teacher

Oct 01, 2020

Morgan Owings grew up in a homeschool classroom and felt called to the teaching profession.

“God placed a very clear and heavy call on my life to be a teacher,” she said.

She feels her homeschool experience has helped her become more successful in the classroom.

“I think it helped me understand learning better,” she said. “I ask my kids a lot of ‘why’ and ‘how do you know’ questions to get them to think deeper about the content. Mom taught us to be independent learners and to own our thinking well. That is what I want my students to be able to do. It is what I am striving for in them.”

Owings began her college journey at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, and transferred to Newman University for her junior and senior years in order to join the teaching program.

Owings graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Owings (l) and friend Faith after a home economics class. They learned how to make doughnuts that day and fed their families for dinner.

“Transferring was a shock,” said Owings. “I had no idea it would be so hard to adjust in the middle of my college experience and honestly, it was never a part of the plan but I’m glad I did in the end.

“The professors (at Newman) genuinely care about us as people. They invested in us so much more than I ever expected them to. A lot of professors say, ‘Keep in touch,’ and it doesn’t mean a thing. Newman professors said it, and they reached out to me to ask how I was doing. They actually wanted to know what was going on. Once a Jet, always a Jet,” she said.

Owings grew up in Wichita and said there was never a time in her life she didn’t know about Newman.

As a nontraditional student, Owings appreciated the class schedule for the teaching program. The evening and night classes enabled her to work during the day and gain more experience teaching in a classroom.

“I was looking for a good teaching program that could get me graduated in 2020. The fact that it was close to home and my sister was attending was just gravy,” she said.

Owings is now a second-grade teacher at El Paso Elementary in Derby, Kansas.

Her favorite part of the job is building relationships with her students, something she struggled with while student-teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our kids need us to invest in them fully and completely,” she said. “I already knew that relationships were important but being separated like that helped to push it to the forefront of my mind. We must be intentional.”

Owings is thankful for her co-workers who have been encouraging, helpful and offer great advice.

“The kids are fun to work with as well. We are still learning procedures and figuring out what the COVID closure did to everyone’s learning. It is shaping up to be a big learning year for all of us,” she concluded.