A chance volunteer assignment was all it took to kindle in Brittany Morales a desire to embark on a career as an educator.

Brittany Morales had reached a crossroads. Her plan to go to law school didn’t materialize, and now she was working as a barista, unsure of what direction she wanted to go with her life.

Like so many who graduate with a bachelor’s degree that doesn’t lead to a job in their chosen field of study – in her case political science and sociology – Morales admits it was a difficult time. “I was in this awkward place in my life, because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted,” she recalls.

One thing Morales was certain of was the fact she always felt comfortable in a school setting. So, when the opportunity arose for her to volunteer in a classroom, she jumped at the chance.

Little did she know it would lead to a new career.Brittany teaching a young boy

“I’ve always felt comfortable and at home in schools,” says Morales, a 2023 graduate of George Fox’s administrative licensure program and a 2016 graduate of its master of arts in teaching (MAT) program. “I think everyone has a story about their favorite teachers, and as I started spending more and more time helping in classrooms, I just felt so happy about being in school.”

Morales’ love of education comes naturally. She was a strong student herself and her mother is a longtime educator, so when a woman she respects – her third- and fourth-grade teacher, also a George Fox graduate – offered Morales a chance to volunteer in her classroom, she didn’t hesitate.

It wasn’t long before Morales discovered her true calling. “I found out I’m the best version of myself when I’m working with kids,” she says. “[My former] teacher asked me the question, ‘Why don’t you become a teacher?’ It’s such a simple question, and it’s one I’ve pondered for years. It just took me longer than most to finally decide that’s truly what I wanted to do.”

Morales followed her heart and completed George Fox’s MAT program in 2016. She then spent four years in an elementary school classroom before deciding she wanted to earn an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement, and later her administrative licensure. She earned both at George Fox.

“Upon completing the program, I felt very prepared to enter into an administrative role,” says Morales, who served as an English language development specialist at Dundee Elementary School in Dundee, Oregon, before taking on her current position as a teaching and learning coordinator in January of 2023. “I honestly believe that the educators at George Fox cared deeply about me as a person and didn’t just see me as someone in their program. And the results and the work I put in as a student always paid off in the jobs that I got.

“My experience in the MAT program as a first-year teacher really helped set me apart from other first-year teachers because the George Fox program really prepared me for what it was going to be like to lead and be a professional in a school setting.”

Brittany writing on a whiteboard

Beyond the preparation aspect of her George Fox experience, Morales discovered a supportive community – an aspect of her schooling that continues to inform her practice long after commencement.

“I am still in touch with my colleagues,” she says. “The first three years of teaching I texted my [MAT] colleagues all the time, because they were also new at their schools. It was really beneficial to have gone through the program together because we knew we could trust each other. We could rely on each other to help one another. The first year of teaching is really tough, and for me to be able to pull out my phone and text somebody I spent a lot of time going through those MAT courses with was really valuable.”

Today, Morales is building relationships of another sort – with her students. She finds it is the most effective way to reach them. “The most valuable thing I learned at George Fox is the importance of building quality relationships. As an educator, you cannot bring out the best version of your student without having a quality relationship.

“My MAT professors were able to teach me how to build relationships with students, which in turn leads to being a high-quality educator through your lesson planning, your lesson delivery, and being intentional about how and what you are teaching your students that day.”


Because she earned her teaching credentials later in life, Morales can relate to the struggles that often accompany the learning process.

“It’s so powerful to be learning as an adult because you can understand how your students feel when they make a mistake,” she says. “You can understand how your students might not want to speak up because they’re afraid to do so. And so, my big thing about my own teaching practice is community. You build community through respect, through friendship, through becoming comfortable with who you are. And when those things happen in a classroom, that’s when that learning begins.”

Morales is the first to admit it’s not always smooth sailing, but she’s found her calling, living out the advice her father gave her years ago: “Work a job you like if you’re going to be doing it the rest of your life.”

“There are days when, honestly, it’s not great,” she says. “But there are also days when I go home and just feel lucky I get to be an educator. I get to be part of students’ lives at a very important time in their lives.”

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