Meet Mr. James Morgan: Long-Term Substitute Teacher at La Salle


John Pham

Mr. James Morgan conducts the jazz band students during their most recent concert on Oct. 29.

Addie Moreland, Staff Reporter

For substitute teacher Mr. James Morgan, the best part of La Salle is the students.

Mr. Morgan has been filling in for Band, Music Technology, and Yearbook teacher Mr. John Donnelly while he’s serving in the National Guard. “You do get a chance to get to know the students, and you get to provide things for them from another point of view from their regular teacher,” Mr. Morgan said.

Mr. Morgan heard about the position at La Salle from a band director’s page on Facebook, “and I said, ‘I could do that.’” 

When asked about his band classes, Mr. Morgan praises the students. “Fortunately, I have very, very, very wonderful kids, and they really want to play,” Mr. Morgan said. “They have never given me any pushback when I asked them to learn something. They’ve never been scared.”

Of the classes he has been asked to teach this year, Mr. Morgan says that Yearbook is different because their yearly project, also known as The Accipiter, lasts all year long. “At the beginning of the school year, everybody is focused on getting their own stuff going,” Mr. Morgan said. “But really, the responsibility for that class is to capture a viewpoint of the whole school year from beginning to end of the school year.” 

Mr. Morgan views Yearbook as rewarding because he gets to see the individual commitment that the students make to capture life at La Salle. “I like how the students are stepping up to take responsibility,” Mr. Morgan said. “That’s very important because it’s like seeing them come awake.” 

Band class, according to Mr. Morgan, is made up of kids who come into class ready and excited to play. “So, again I have to give credit to the students who step up and take responsibility in that regard,” Mr. Morgan said.

In recent months, the band has been preparing for the Halloween concert, as well as school assemblies. “I helped them, but when they came, they were extremely on task,” Mr. Morgan said.

Before coming to La Salle, Mr. Morgan has had a long teaching career at various school districts, mostly in their music departments. Most recently, he worked as a substitute band director in Corbett Ore. at Corbett Middle School and High School. “So I can play all the instruments [in the band], and I can usually tell when something might be about to happen, like a challenge that a student might need to overcome, and I can fix it right there,” he said. “It’s very gratifying.”

“It’s a small, small proportion of the school, but it’s important,” he said. “The arts are important.”

“I’ve also been in some other schools, but I like to go in for about a month, or possibly six weeks,” he said. Over the course of his career, Mr. Morgan has learned to play around ten different instruments.

Of his vast experience teaching at different kinds of schools, Mr. Morgan shared his thoughts on La Salle. “I want to say that I really like La Salle,” he said. “It is a school with heart and it has a certain spiritual center.”