Katy Long is a College of Education faculty member here at Grand Canyon University. She has wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl; when she was younger, she would line up her stuffed animals and dolls as if they were her students and would “teach” them.
Education and Early Career
Later in life, Katy ended up attending Central College in Pella, Iowa, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in Spanish. Katy started her career in Des Moines where she taught middle school Spanish for three years before moving to Phoenix to teach for an additional six years.
Upon the move to Arizona, Katy earned her master’s degree in education for K-12 school counseling from NAU with a K-12 ESL endorsement. During those nine years of teaching, she learned a great deal about what it takes to be an effective teacher.
Teaching at Grand Canyon University
Katy feels God has led her to GCU to make an even larger impact on education, as teaching, inspiring future teachers and watching them pass on the knowledge they learned from her are true blessings from God.
Katy has been teaching at GCU for four years. She originally started as adjunct faculty during the evening, but four years ago she was hired on as full-time online faculty and four years ago transitioned to full-time campus faculty. Katy teaches a variety of courses at GCU, including ESL courses and methods of teaching math and science courses. One of the most difficult things she encountered was realizing how much she missed the buzz of younger students; however, the energy and inspiration that she gets from college students is more than enough to make up for it.
When Katy is not working with the next generation of educators, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jerrod. As weekend season ticket holders for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they can be found cheering on the home team all season long. The photo above was taken at a recent game.
Inspiring Students Through Building Relationships
Katy wants her students to not only learn the content and effective strategies they need in order to be successful teachers but also how to be solid professionals. She hopes to teach them to represent and advocate for their profession in hopes of changing society’s view of teachers. Katy also wants her students to get the full college experience here at GCU because there are so many activities and resources available to students, such as sports, clubs, and outreach. She says that her college years of studying and playing softball were some of the best years of her life and she wants her students to have just as great of an experience as she did.
Katy’s favorite memory while teaching at GCU is not a memory, but rather the relationships that she has made with her students and former students. She says her favorite experience is watching students grow into professionals who will be teaching the next generation. She believes that the College of Education community is unique because they are the only group of faculty who have been teachers for their entire careers. Katy also says that the education students themselves are unique because of their calling to be teachers and, in the true spirit of GCU, because they have found their purpose!
Lastly, Katy wanted to leave some advice that she has learned: “Students don’t care about what you know until they know that you care.” Throughout her teaching career, she has found that by building and maintaining active relationships with her students, they will be more inclined to learn, as they know that their teacher cares for them as a person and wants them to succeed.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.