Jessalyn Johnson is a senior at Grand Canyon University, completing the final year of her BA in English Literature. Originally from Melbourne, FL, Jessalyn has come to enjoy living in the desert of Arizona. Since freshman year she has occupied several different positions on the editorial board of GCU’s literary review, StartleBloom, which is approaching its third volume. In her free time, Jessalyn enjoys creative writing, photography, writing music and participating in the plays and musicals put on by GCU’s Ethington Theatre.
The College of Education at Grand Canyon University provides a unique community in which students come together to work hard and strive for success in their field. Brandon Juarez is one of many outstanding faculty in this college, providing his students with tools and resources to achieve their goals. We asked Juarez a few questions about his experience teaching at GCU, how the community has shaped him and how he hopes it shapes his students:
How have your previous experiences led you to teaching?
My professional background includes community college and K-12 instruction. As an assistant professor in the College of Education, I have the honor and privilege to lead pre-service teachers to their careers. Also, as an alumnus of GCU’s College of Education (undergraduate, ’05), I am humbled to give back to a college and university that provided so much for my family and me.
What piece of advice have you found most helpful to either yourself or your students?
The most helpful advice I received was from a professional mentor. He posited the importance of taking one day at a time. In the field of education, specifically education administration, it is very easy to get wrapped up in all of the ins and outs of the job. Taking one step at a time and to manage my time wisely were central elements of advice that have lent to my success. I try very hard to be organized and to not overthink problems and tasks. Establishing daily routines has helped to manage time and to stay focused on a specific task, without becoming distracted or overwhelmed.
Do you have a memory from your time teaching at GCU?
My favorite memories of teaching at GCU are ongoing. I have had the pleasure of teaching wonderful students throughout the years. It is a true blessing when former students write or call to share how my class(es) have helped to prepare them for their success. As a former classroom teacher and school administrator, I pride myself on offering tangible and applicable elements of advice that pre-service teachers can apply to their classroom setting. Thus, the most memorable teaching experiences at GCU are when students say thank you.
What makes the College of Education community unique?
The care for students and each other make the College of Education community unique. Having the privilege to serve as an online full-time faculty instructor and manager, as well serving as an assistant professor on campus, I’ve found the cohesiveness between both modalities is truly special. Additionally, most faculty support our college’s academic mission and vision by serving in several capacities. Thus, our faculty are experts in their field and offer support to each other. Sharing resources and advice is a great practice that has elevated our collegiality and expertise.
Tell us about the courses you teach and your experience as a professor.
I teach courses ranging from elementary social studies to graduate-level education administration courses. Currently, I am teaching a 400-level classroom management course and several 200-level lesson planning courses. I enjoy supporting students at all developmental levels throughout their programs. I am also fond of my experience serving as a site supervisor for student teachers and education administration interns. I am privileged to work alongside education professionals who offer tremendous value and support to our students.
What do you want your students to get out of their education and community at GCU?
I aspire for students to learn transferable skills that are applicable in their future classrooms. As an application-based profession, it is my honor and duty to provide tangible teaching skills both in terms of content knowledge as well as modeling during my instruction. Truly, the opportunity to model and teach educational content is a blessing that most colleges cannot match. College of Education faculty are provided the unique opportunity to provide examples to pre-service teachers in both word and deed. I truly want our students to remember not only what I taught them, but also how I made them feel.
The College of Education at Grand Canyon University prides itself on community and putting students first. To learn more, visit the college website or contact us using the Request More Information button.
Written by Jessalyn Johnson, a senior majoring in English literature at GCU.