Why I Teach

By Kyle Hedden, MA
Online Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

teacher and students in a circle

When I heard that the College of Education had chosen “teacher appreciation” as the inaugural theme for the blog, Teaching in Purple, I immediately thought of the women’s suffrage movement in England.

Let me explain.

One assignment in my world history class has an option for students to write about the women’s suffrage movement in England. This presents several challenges, especially since I am an American military historian and the textbook has no specific information on that topic. However, my focus is on the students.

Creating Assignments

I check with the Grand Canyon University library. I read numerous scholarly articles on the topic and select my three favorites; I also find some video clips students can use. I post these in the online classroom and ask questions to check their understanding.

This is certainly enough information to complete the assignment. In the process of selecting this information, I learn enough on the topic to not only grade the papers, but also to describe the pain the suffragists felt when Winston Churchill refused to comment on their plight.

Going the Distance

But what about the rare student who becomes so interested in the topic that they yearn for more? My search for materials must continue beyond articles and short video clips. I look for sources outside our library, find an e-book, read it and submit a request to add it to the library’s collection.

I am satisfied that there is now enough material in the library should I ever have a student that is thirsty for knowledge on this topic. I can discuss the topic with them in depth. Of course, I will continue to make periodic searches and stay abreast of this topic, but I do that with everything I cover in each class.

Appreciating the Rewards

So, what does this have to do with appreciating teachers? Well, that class is over, and now I get to see the students’ anonymous responses about me:

“Mr. Hedden was very prompt in answering my questions about assignments or discussion questions, as well as sending back helpful critiques of papers. He provided great additional sources, and I really enjoyed the thematic approach to world history that this class took.”

“My instructor was very helpful, timely in his responses and very knowledgeable with the material.”

“I had Mr. Hedden in my last two courses and he was a great instructor. He was always willing to answer questions and his feedback was very helpful.”

“I would recommend this instructor because he takes the time to explain the concepts to the students.”

I appreciated their feedback. And it appears they appreciated my efforts!

The College of Education helps students grow in their passion for education. With pillars of learning, leading and serving, graduates of GCU’s College of Education is committed to supporting students in their educational journey to find their purpose. Find out more about GCU’s education degrees by requesting more information.

More About Kyle:


Kyle is a full-time online faculty member at Grand Canyon University. He earned his associate degree from Phoenix College, bachelor’s degree in history from Arizona State University and master’s degree in military history from Norwich University. While he attended school, he also worked full-time, so he knows how difficult it can be to balance completing assignments and paying the rent.

Prior to starting at GCU, Kyle worked as an adjunct faculty member for Phoenix College and continuing education instructor at Paradise Valley Community College. He also served as a board member for the Arizona Military History Museum.

Kyle became interested in history because his granddad was a paratrooper in World War II and shared many stories with Kyle when he was a teenager. Kyle enjoys reading history books and watching historically themed movies. In his spare time, he loves the outdoors and enjoys reading outside, gardening and hiking trails around the Valley. He also has two hyperactive yellow lab mixes.

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. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.