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Traveling teacher uses costumes and characters to inspire a love of learning
There are always exciting changes coming in education, but one thing that remains constant is that reading is fundamental. This is the story of one teacher who has gone above and beyond to turn that "fun" part into a science.
Boys and girls, it's show time.
Paul Morrell is bringing his star-studded weekly performance to the students at the McMillan Pre-K Center. He's a former high school band teacher who felt a calling to a different stage when this position came open with the school district 15 years ago.
He decided after his first day on the job that he was going to make the children's learning experience one to remembers. "We try to make the characters in the book come to life. So that we're hoping that we instill such a desire, such a passion, such an excitement that when they do become old enough to reach a book on their own, or as they're sitting with their mom and dad at home or their grandparent or whomever it might be, that they can relate to these characters."
He's a master storyteller, a singer, and puppeteer. As for the characters coming to life, the costumes sell it.
He has more than 20 of them; the majority are courtesy of his frequent co-star and leading lady of 46 years, his wife, Mary Ann. "My wife sews. She sews beautifully. She makes the vast majority of my costumes that I wear. And if there's a book that I want to do or the seasons of the year that we'll do - in the fall of the year we'll do Johnny Appleseed because his birthday's in September. In November, I'm the biggest turkey in the school district. And then, of course, Christmas time, holiday time."
Paul takes his show, or rather, his lessons, on the road. He's an itinerate teacher travelling to eight Title I schools and works with about 500 students each week. You'll find the same energy and excitement for reaching children at every stop. He's about to close this chapter and retire soon, but he'll leave with great memories and a sense of accomplishment. "At the end of the day, if these children, when they get home, if they can't wait to come back to school the next day, then we have done our job."
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Anderson Subaru.