B.A., University of Iowa
Since beginning her teaching career at an independent school 20-some years ago, Ms. McAlister has taught students from Pre-K through college in many different subject areas, including many years at the high school level.
Why did you choose to work at Morgan Park Academy?
I choose to work here after working for several years in the summer program and learning about MPA’s mission, vision, and values. I love the fact that it is about the whole child and the learning that goes beyond the classroom. MPA celebrates the uniqueness of each individual on a social, emotional, academic, and physical level. It is a place where students from different backgrounds and cultures are close friends and don’t overlook differences, but instead learn from them. The school is globally focused and service-focused, which fosters a generosity toward others that develops students into productive citizens of the future.
What is the most important life lesson you want students to learn in your class?
The most important life lesson that I want them to learn is to never give up. Many of the people that we look at in history and society as our heroes or as successful people have had many failures on the road to their success. Perseverance is the key to success, rather than getting everything right the first time. Learning and growth can only take place when you don’t have the answer or don’t know what to do. Struggle is often the first step to accomplishment.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The thing that I enjoy most about teaching is when a student has an “a-ha” moment, when all the pieces connect and they gain understanding or finally “get it”. I love being able to facilitate that growth and love hearing them say that it isn’t as difficult as they thought it was before. It is a privilege to be able to be a part of their learning that will help them to move on to the next level of independence. I love getting to be a part of their lives in this way.
What are some of your interests and hobbies?
In my free time, I love spending time with family and friends. I often spend my nights and weekends watching one (or more) of my kids playing either soccer, basketball, or baseball. I also enjoy music and regularly sing at my church and sometimes play piano or violin.