Anne Morris: Students and Staff Have “Extraordinary Gift of Hope”

If you go to Dimond, then you know who Anne Morris is. She has taught at Dimond High School for 25 years, but sadly, the 2020-2021 school year is her last. 

Morris taught in Northern Illinois for two years before coming to Alaska.

“My favorite part of teaching is that epiphany moment when things click for students, they recognize when they master a reading or writing skill,” Morris said. 

Antara Brewer, her close friend and fellow English teacher at Dimond, said, “I did my student teaching with her 15 years ago. I was randomly placed with her, which might be the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.” 

Morris inspires students to look and think outside of the box with assignments, to not look at a book and just read it because it is assigned.

Morris wants you to incorporate books and poems with your day-to-day life, to see how it still influences humans today.

“When I started teaching, my professors told us since we were young and inexperienced that we shouldn’t smile, and we needed to be stern to be taken seriously.

“Quickly I discovered that that didn’t work for me. I wanted to have fun with my students and show them the joys and writing of literature, to show them the power of language,” Morris said.

Brewer said, “She’s the kind of friend who supplies chocolate, makes you laugh and will hand you the keys to her car, without question in an emergency.

“I was super serious about everything when students were around, finally she pulled me aside and said, “ you know, it’s okay to laugh” and my career has been so much more fun since then,” Brewer said.

Brewer continued by saying, “She taught me to be myself in the classroom. But truly she has had an impact on me personally and professionally every single day since. She challenges me, encourages me, questions me and supports me.” 

Morris has big plans for after retirement.

“The dogs and I are loading up the motorhome and travelling for a year. Then I will decide what I do next. Oh, yeah, and my husband is coming too.”

Morris said, “The memories of Dimond will always remind me to be optimistic. Students and staff here have that ‘extraordinary gift of hope.’ It is the thing I will miss the most.“