The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Katrina Morales on Gen Z slang and social media


Katrina Morales is a new middle school English teacher who teaches English 8. Interviewing her was both hilarious and extremely profound, and I enjoyed talking to her about the new age of dissemination of information via social media. 


Who was your favorite of your teachers when you were a student? What impact did they have on you?

Katrina Morales is one of two new MS English teachers this year. (Eve Snyder)


One of the most impactful teachers was my sixth grade teacher, because she introduced us to the concept of social justice and opened up that world to us. She made learning more engaging and more captivating because she had a lot of discussion.That was the first time where a teacher really wanted to know our opinions versus just reading a textbook. In general, the teachers who really had an impact on me would also challenge me. It’s not just about getting a good grade, but actually making your brain hurt a little bit so we could really grapple with the information. 


What books are on your nightstand and/or coffee table right now?


One of the books that I read in the summer that was really good was “Yellow Face” by RF Kuang.I also really like Japanese translated fiction. I’m a big fan of Sally Rooney and her work. [Her books] are this contemporary look at relationships, especially during postgrad life or college, quite formative years. I’m also reading Amy Tan again, “Joy Luck Club,” which is a really good book. I think her style of writing is really compelling. 


I’m a big fan of short stories too. I love Ray Bradbury’s “All summer in a day” which is a great science fiction story about Venus. Ted Chang has a good [short story] called “Story of Your Life” which is inspired by the movie Arrival with Amy Adams. So watching the movie and reading the short story is quite fascinating because you could see the differences and also the pros and cons of each medium.


What is the most impactful interaction you’ve had with a student? 


I used to teach math [and a student] didn’t like my class. He would cut class or he wasn’t excited about it. But then in the passing period, he would visit me just to say hi. I thought that was really interesting, because although a student may not like the content of your class, they can still gravitate towards you as a person. 


What is a “fan-favorite” part of your teaching style? In other words, what is it about your classes that students love? 


I think being an English teacher, I’m always wanting to be a wordsmith. I’ve always been “what’s the new slang?” And “how have things evolved?” I was talking to a seventh grader the other day and we were talking about the word “rizz”. For me, “rizz” translates to swag. They’re like, “no, no, that’s not what swag is. You have swag, you get swag like you get free stuff.” When I was growing up, swag meant you’re cool. Now it’s different, seeing how words change. I think kids find that kind of entertaining. 


When you were a little kid what did you want to be when you grew up?  


The first thing I wanted to do growing up was to be an architect because I really liked watching HGTV and looking at houses. “MTV Cribs” was one of my favorite shows. 


What is your favorite piece of media and why? What impact did it have on you? 


There is a lot of merit to writing still, even in the age of AI. Writing creates a more intimate relationship with the reader. Because when you read something, especially memoir or even fiction, you filter it and you understand it through a very unique lens compared to your friend or a family member. So writing is one of my favorite mediums. But I won’t lie, I think TikTok has revolutionized the dissemination of information. I’ve learned so much about history or about gender or about fashion on TikTok. It kind of blurs the line of who’s an expert and who has the authority to spread information and what information is valid. Granted you still have to filter through a lot because there’s just so much [information]. But short form video has really revolutionized the way people learn good or for worse. Just the exposure, it’s fun. I think it’s really interesting.


What is one thing you are obsessed with right now? 


The froyo machine. I’m not gonna lie. That’s been a really fun topic of conversation among students and how I’ll see students eat Froyo while they get their main entree, Or they’ll go for a seconds.

This story is part of the series “Q&Avery” by Counterpoint on new teachers around the circle this school year.

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About the Contributors
Avery Neuner
Avery Neuner, Editor of Opinions
Avery Neuner ‘24 is the Editor of Opinions for Counterpoint. She has been writing for Counterpoint for three  years and has been a writer her whole life. In addition to journalism, she is a published author in short story and poetry.

Eve Snyder
Eve Snyder, Editor of Photography
Eve Snyder ‘24 is the Editor of Photography for Counterpoint. She enjoys creating still life and photomontage pictures, as well as taking portraits. When she’s not photographing, she’s rock climbing, making jewelry or painting her nails.

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