Bridgeport native has passion for teaching and a deep history with NBFA
Jennifer Morales’ connection to New Beginnings Family Academy is a family thing. Not only does her own child and several cousins attend the school, but she has a strong familial tie to her students.
“You could say I get a little stalkerish with my kids,” the middle school math teacher said laughing after a recent long day of crunching numbers in Room 158.
The product of a strong mother, watchful big brother and Bridgeport’s Marina Village, Morales has more in common with her students than most teachers.
“I didn’t want to go off to college and just move off somewhere like so many do from here,” said Morales, who was one of two of her high school friends she knew that went to college. “I wanted to give back to my community. I want to build the community and keep the brainpower here.”
Morales first started at NBFA when she was 15-years-old as an after-school assistant.
Having been with NBFA for quite some time, Morales witnessed the school’s switch to a progressive model. She said. “I like that we now have a more supportive structure. It helps the children.”
Morales said you are now teaching to the best interests of the student. You don’t end up teaching to the test and you can adjust to how one child might learn differently from another.
“When administrators walk into a classroom and students are doing different things because at that moment that is how they are learning best, they understand,” she said. “It’s amazing and they take it in better.”
GET TO KNOW MS. MORALES
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Musician: Beyonce of course
Favorite Author or book: Author Khaled Hosseini
Favorite Movie: Avatar But really the Lion King lol
Favorite Food: pizza
Do you have a pet: No, but I want a dog.
Favorite vacation spot: Any place with a beach and nice blue water
During a recent math lesson, Morales sat at a round table at the front of her class working on a basic Algebra lesson with three students closely surrounding her as she took notes.
She played her class as if a symphony conductor.
As she held the attention of the students sitting closest to her peppering questions at them and pointing to one workbook after another, she called out to one student after another spread around the room to ask for answers or provide them with a nudge to keep working.
Morales acknowledges that children are just different now than they were ten years ago with many societal factors such as the internet playing into their development.
“You need to have strong relationships,” she said. “Strong relationships with the parents and the students. I have a lot of those.”