Meridian Community College English Instructor Morgan Boothe will share her favorite poem – one of the earliest works by writer T.S. Eliot – when she presents the talk, “Coffee Spoons and Cell Phones: Isolation and Loneliness in T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’”
Booth was selected as Meridian Community College’s nominee for the Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher of the Year. And as the recipient, she will present a public lecture on Friday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. in the Casteel Room of the L.O. Todd-Billy C. Beal Learning Resources Center. Community residents are invited to attend this free event.
Booth was both honored and happy to have been named Humanities Teacher of the Year. “This was one my MCC bucket list… it was something I wanted to achieve,” she said about garnering the accolade.
The Mississippi Humanities Council honors outstanding humanities instructors annually from colleges and universities in Mississippi through its Humanities Teachers Awards, which celebrate these educators and promote continued interest in the humanities. Boothe will also be celebrated along with nominees from the state’s other institutions of higher learning when the Mississippi Humanities Council hosts a ceremony in their honor in Jackson in April.
“Meridian Community College is proud to support the Mississippi Humanities Council through our annual Humanities Teacher of the Year Program,” said Michael Thompson, MCC dean of academic affairs. He added that Boothe is an asset to the College’s Language, Literature and Student Success division.
“Morgan is an outstanding instructor who inspires and encourages her students to pursue academic excellence,” Thompson added.
Her MCC roots go back to the fall of 2007 when she learned of an English teaching position at the College from an MCC colleague. Booth holds a bachelor’s degree from Samford University and a master’s degree from the University of West Alabama. “I love what I do, and I’m thankful for what I do,” she said.
It was her passion for reading that prompted a career in teaching English; in searching for her career choice, she questioned what kind of major would let her read all day and discovered English was the ticket for her. Boothe’s love of reading continues; during the summer break, she reads a variety of subjects to share with her students.
While a student in a Shakespeare class, she read Eliot’s poem that has been described as a dramatic monologue of a modern-day urban speaker who talks frankly about his failures. “The first time I read it, I was like most of my students, I had no idea of what it meant,” she said. And that was frustrating. But in review and time, she came to appreciate the poem, and she shares with students to read it, too. In teaching honor students, she tells them this poem wants you to put down your cell phone. “Because if you don’t connect with people, you will be lonely for the rest of your life. And they were like, ‘yeah.’ So that’s where the idea came from,” she said.
Essayists describe Prufrock as a man whose feelings can be easily identified. One reviewer wrote, “The imagery of a man, alienated from the world, too scared and shy to go after what he thinks he wants for fear of never really being satisfied, rings true with many of our feelings today.”