Harrelson always wanted to be teacher

Published 6:39 pm Saturday, May 6, 2017

Alex Harrelson, an honors English teacher at Morgan Academy, knew her calling at an early age.

After all, both of her parents are teachers. But she didn’t become a teacher because she wanted to follow in their footsteps.

“I don’t think my parents encouraged me to be a teacher,” she said. “It’s not that they didn’t. They wanted me to do what I wanted to do, and they say whatever you think you’re led to do, you need to do it.”

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She did it because that’s what she knew.

“It’s just part of our lifestyle. I didn’t know anything different,” she said. “My whole extended family, it just seems like everybody has something to do with the school system. I was immersed in it.”

Harrelson, who is from Monroeville, has been teaching at Morgan for three years now. She went to school at Troy University, where she studied to be an English teacher.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so I kind of said to myself what do you enjoy the most, and it just kind of came down to English,” she said. “So that’s how I chose what I wanted to teach.”

Harrelson said she likes teaching literature because it can open up a conversation about anything and everything. One of the things she loves most about teaching is seeing one of her students when they understand something.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” she said. “When they struggle with something, and then they get it … you can tell that they’ve worked hard for it. The look on their face when they get it is so good.”

She learned how to teach high school because her father did too, and he knew just what to say to them — even during tough times.

“When you’re in high school, and you’re a girl and you don’t relate to your mom, dad knew how to say things,” she said. “Mom could say the exact same thing, but dad just knew how to say things because he worked with teenage kids all day every day. That’s what he did. He just knew how to say things that made sense.”

Different people have different ways of learning. Harrelson said during college the best way to learn was in the mirror.

“The best way for me to understand the material was to go into my bathroom and teach myself the material. I know that sounds crazy,” she laughed. “I would tell my roommates I’m going to the bathroom to study. Y’all just turn on some music, so you won’t hear me because I would get in front of the mirror and teach myself the material. It was the best way I knew how to learn it.”

Harrelson is married to her husband, Heath, and they are expecting a child in July.