Mary Morgan with art student by KingsWay School

Focus on a Teacher

Mary Morgan - Senior Art Teacher

I was born in the south of England and brought up in an eccentric family. Today, I live with my husband and two daughters on the Coast near the beach.

My mother was a young Deputy Head of a primary school in the East End of London, the same place and era featured in Call the Midwife. She encouraged me from an early age to appreciate all the Arts, and when it came time to make the decision as to what career I would follow, I didn’t hesitate. The seven years spent in London at Art School doing first a BA Hons and then a Master’s were hugely enjoyable. I was in the centre of Cool Britannia and used my student discount to see great actors, musicians and dancers perform in the city’s many theatres. The Royal Academy of Art was a regular haunt to catch international exhibitions, and I once had the pleasure of meeting Diana, Princess of Wales, whilst researching a brief in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I decided to become a teacher because my mother had spoken so often about the joy of having a life with a sense of purpose that was rooted in giving back.

I have taught in several schools; however, I began in two tough Essex comprehensives, and I soon learned that teaching is about building an environment where skills can be transferred, and bonds built through a shared passion for art, resilience and humour.

As Teacher in Charge of Art at KingsWay, I have strived to create a centre of excellence for my subject, and our students have enjoyed a consistently high level of success in NCEA and recently scholarship awards. One high point of my career has been taking our students on the school’s Europe Tours. When I watch our students’ sense of wonder at seeing sights such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it lifts my heart, and I feel very privileged to witness their reaction when they first see art only previously viewed on a screen or in a book.

My Christian faith has grown immeasurably during my time at KingsWay. Each year, I enjoy experiencing the world through the eyes of my students, and I often re-examine my views on issues such as social justice. Being the Teacher in Charge of the House Council has also been a great pleasure and continues to be an enormous source of fun.

NZQA’s Creatives in Schools Grant

Some recent exciting news is that late last year, the Art department was successful in its bid for a grant of over $17,000, awarded by NZQA’s Creatives in Schools. In Term Two, Izak van der Merwe (KingsWay alumni) and I will begin a project that aims to equip KingsWay students with the tools and knowledge of photographic practices so that they can articulate and express their unique cultural identity within a multicultural school and community. At the end of the project, students will exhibit their work at the Estuary Arts Centre. Each participating student will have a permanent visual record of their thoughts and experiences in 2021. They will also develop their key competencies, including thinking, planning, design language, managing self and relating to others.

I am proud of all the students that have come through the Art Department to study drawing, painting, printing and design. There is a commitment for everyone to reach their potential and honour God in our achievements.

Original artwork - Mary Morgan — Image by: KingsWay School

Mary Morgan
Senior Art Teacher