“It’s the only school I’ve known,” Morgan Bane says about Carolina Forest High School.
She graduated from CFHS, she interned there when she was in college, and now she’s teacher of the year there.
Each of her seven years teaching has been at CFHS; a brother is a sophomore there, and a sister graduated from there last year.
The classroom where she teaches English is a lot like the one where she studied the subject when she was a student.
“When I was a student here, I had amazing English teachers, and since I already loved to read, that made it even better,” she said.
“That was my safe place, my favorite class, I loved it.”
Soft lighting, cozy places to curl up and read, and wall art encouraging literacy make her own classroom feel like a second home, not just for the students, but for her too.
And speaking of home, Bane and her husband Nicholas, a technician at HTC, have a brand new one in Conway and spend a lot of time at Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby shopping for furnishings.
Their family includes Stella, a beagle mix.
Bane used to coach basketball, and she also was a National Honor Society advisor, but as a Student Counsel advisor now, she stays busy planning events that include proms and Homecoming.
The teacher of the year says she knew back in elementary school that her future included teaching.
She didn’t know it was high school she wanted to teach until she realized how much she loved English and reading.
“Reading is escapism, it got me through adolescence,” she says.
She loves reading and books and even the smell of books so much that she has candles made by Frostbeard Studio – one with a new book smell, and one with an old book smell.
Being teacher of the year will, Bane says, give her a chance to represent Carolina Forest High School, and that is exciting.
Also exciting is working with the teenagers she teaches.
It’s typical, she says, that when she tells people she’s a high school English teacher, they often have a negative reaction.
“They ask me how I can deal with teenagers, and I wish people didn’t see teenagers like that.
“The students are the reason – even more than my love of reading and English – that I remain a teacher. It’s because of the students.
“Teenagers are way smarter than people give them credit for. They’re deep, they’re insightful, and they get a bad rap.
“My favorite part of the day is when I shut the door to my classroom and it’s my students and me.”