Astrid is in 12th grade. This is her first year in Journalism. She enjoys collecting music and art. Her favorite movie 21 Jump Street.
Photo Courtesy of FCHS Journalism
The History of Morrison
May 12, 2023
FCHS teacher Matthew Morrison is known by many students for his passion for history and knowledge on the subject, so much so that it might be hard to believe he didn’t always want to be a teacher. Born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, he’s always had an interest in history.
“It was my favorite subject in high school and my teacher for US History in my junior year was a great inspiration for me,” said Morrison. Her name was Mary Tarver and she was one of the only teachers who saw his potential and really connected with him. “Even though I did enjoy history, I never thought I would become a teacher. I had no real desire. I didn’t like school very much, which is probably why Ms. Tarver made such an impression on me,” he added.
After high school, Morrison was in and out of college, starting and quitting several times. He traveled out west and landed a series of jobs that he found uninteresting and which paid poorly, such as working in factories and warehouses, as well as landscaping.
“In 1995, I was laid off from my job in a factory in Portland, Oregon. All of a sudden I had lost my job, my apartment, my girl, and was basically living on a friend’s couch. I was 25 and I realized that I had to make some changes in my life, so I sold everything I could and moved back to Virginia,” Morrison said.
Over the next four years he put in the work and everything changed. He got married, finished his degree, had his daughter, and moved to Charlottesville with his wife and kids. In the fall of 2000, he applied as a history teacher at Fluvanna County High School and got the job.
“Seeing a light go on in a student’s eyes and seeing that they understand what I’m trying to teach them is the best. I love a good classroom discussion with students who desire the knowledge that I’m putting out there for them,” he said.
One of the things Morisson is most known for is his style of teaching. Focusing on interactive lectures, he tells the students what he knows, then has them interact in historical scenarios with him, thus giving students knowledge and understanding of the subject. What Morrison enjoys most about teaching, though, is the time in the classroom with his students.
“I think what makes me slightly different from other teachers is a combination of my passion for my subject, being knowledgeable about my subject, and the style by which I go about teaching my subject. I am a history person and I believe that the study of history is key to understanding where we are and where we’re going as a culture and society. I’m a little unconventional, and I’ve always taken some pride in that fact. Not all students like my style, and I’m always looking to improve, but ultimately, I feel as though I’ve done the best that I could by my students over the years,” he explained.
When Morrison isn’t teaching, he likes to spend time with his wife. They love live music, good food, and cool locations, as well as traveling.
“We both share the desire to see as much of this world as we can before our time is over,” he said.
When at home, he also enjoys cooking, mostly Italian dishes that he learned from his mother. He has one daughter who is in the coffee industry in Richmond and manages a non-profit for at-risk young people that gives them work experience and training.
“I’m very proud of her and the person that she has become,” he said. His step-son also lives in Richmond and does well for himself. “All in all, I have been very fortunate in this life,” Morrison said.