Student / Mentor Teachers of the Month: April 2024

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The College of Education (COE) Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice (TEP) is proud to announce the recipients of Student Teachers of the Month and Mentor Teachers of the Month for April 2024: students Desiree Scott and Lesley Watson and mentors Matthew Morrison and Elizabeth Erwin.

Desiree ScottScott graduated UofM in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She returned to UofM in 2022 for her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a concentration in Elementary K-5. Her time as a student teacher has been spent in the third grade class at Arlington Elementary School under the guidance of Caroline Beard, who recevied TEP's Mentor Teacher of the Month Award for the month of February. Scott is a Tipton County native and hopes her career as an educator keeps her in Shelby County.

"It has been a tough road to pursue a master's degree at 32 years old as a mom, a wife, a caretaker, and a full-time employee," Scott said. "This award tells me that all of the sleepless nights, all the nerves, and all the tears have not been for nothing. (It) tells me I am brave enough, strong enough, and smart enough to move forward with this journey, to make a change in a child's life and create something beautiful with the talent I have been given."

Lesley WatsonWhereas Watson, a Senior Teaching All Learners (TALN) Major, has spent her student teaching time in Gibson County, where she's orignially from. In the first grade classroom at South Gibson County Elementary School, Watson said she felt herself grow into the teacher she wants to be after graduation.

"Receiving this award is very inspirational to me because it represents how I have grown to be a better educator and how I have made a substantial impact on my students," said Watson. "During my student teaching experience, I learned to be more flexible and patient in the classroom, as well as a team player when collaborating on lesson plans. I've also learned new and innovative approaches to instruction from my mentor, who has genuinely supported my first steps throughout this incredible journey."
Matthew MorrisonThe Director of Choirs at Collierville High School is Matthew Morrison. TEP said "Matthew is an extremely intellectual musician, a master of his craft, and a dedicated educator. He juggles private voice lessons, class instruction, musical theatre direction, church ensemble singing, orchestral conducting, competition participation, creative and varied concerts, and so much more. Being a first-time mentor teacher, Matthew has worked hard at being the best mentor he can be, always asking questions to find the best way of advancing knowledge. Being at Collierville High is like watching a masterclass every day."
As for Erwin, she supports and encourages her candidate in all lesson preparations and classroom management. According to her mentee, Mrs. Erwin respects her candidate, and her candidate respects her, that she provides the best feedback after teaching a lesson, and it is always positive. A 13-year vet, she teaches fifth grade math and science at Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett and has been selected to represent her school as Teacher of the Year. Erwin says she loves living in her school community and being a part of BCS.Elizabeth Erwin

"I am overwhelmed with pride to receive the Mentor Teacher of the Month award," Erwin said. "Reading the kind words from my student teacher only reaffirms why I do what I do. I want to make a positive impact on those around me and know that I have been able to do just that with this recognition."

The student teacher and teacher mentor of the month recognition has been revamped by the COE and TEP. Since there were no students or mentors recognized in the Fall 2023 semester, two students and mentors will be recognized for the months of February, March, and April. Nominations for the award are made during the respective month, and the winners are selected at the end of the following month. All winners for Spring 2024 will be recognized at TEP's end of the year celebration.

Congratulations to our recipients!