Dr. Susan Langston: Assistant professor of Education
April 12, 2013
Dr. Susan Langston is always eager to learn something new, and this love for learning allows her to sharpen those around her. Dr. Langston came to teach at Evangel in the fall of 2012, bringing more than 20 years of public school teaching experience to the Education Department. Before coming to Evangel, she worked as the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Coordinator for Springfield Public Schools.
Dr. Langston received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Elementary Education from Drury University. She also has a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Missouri State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Dr. Langston says that one of her greatest joys in life is spending time with her family, especially her two grandsons and brand-new baby granddaughter. In her free time, Dr. Langston enjoys reading, writing, traveling, running and being outdoors.
Along with her love of learning, Dr. Langston has a passion for training Christian teachers. “It’s not just a job; it’s a real ministry,” she says. “The public schools need Christian teachers to serve as role models for the students and to really show the students that their education prepares them for life and prepares them to serve.”
What brought you to Evangel?
I had always wanted to teach at the college level. After finishing my doctorate, I was thinking “What’s next?” I saw the faculty opening online, so I checked it out. I’ve always been impressed by Evangel’s Christian atmosphere and the people who work here. I know a lot of the people who work here, and I’ve gone to church with them for years. So to be here is choice.
What makes Evangel’s Education Department special?
The commitment of the staff is huge, not just to provide lectures and information, but to really guide the students through the process of becoming a teacher. They are very concerned with all aspects of the student both to help them develop the skills that they need and also to help them develop the personality traits that they need to really connect with students.
What is your favorite part of teaching here?
I like being with the students again. I was training teachers in my last job. That was fun, but I like being back in the classroom with students. I enjoy the creativity that is involved with preparing the lessons and then getting that interaction and feedback from the students about how they’re going to apply what they’re learning.
What sparked your interest in education?
I was already married and had children. Working at Drury University for the dean, I was in a position where I could go to school for free. I was taking business classes, and then I started talking to one of the new professors in the Education Department. She was really friendly, and she would come in and talk to me about the fun things she was doing with her students and what she was teaching in her methods classes. I had had no interest in being a teacher at all, but I started thinking about what she was talking about. One Sunday morning I was sitting in church, and I was watching the little box where they have the numbers for the nursery. All of a sudden, it just hit me that I was supposed to be a teacher. I just had this overwhelming sense of excitement about it.
However, at that time there was an overabundance of teachers and not enough jobs in Springfield. I told my husband, and he said that I needed to be able get a job when I graduated. So I just let it go, but I still talked to that one professor. One night I was reading to my daughter. I always made up the characters’ voices in the books to make it fun for her. My husband walked through and was watching us. Later on he said, “You need to be a teacher.” The next day I was in that professor’s office asking what I needed to do to change majors. I just had this feeling that it was the perfect place for me. All the way through my program and all the way through my student teaching, I just knew that it was for me. I used to tell people, “I can’t believe they pay me to come and play with kids all day. It’s fun.”
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
When I was teaching, I was always searching for a better way to teach. I received really good evaluations as a teacher, but I felt like there was a better way to do things. I went to work for the International Baccalaureate program, which is a structure that has all the best practices in education put into one framework. That really helped me with finding that best way for students to learn. Then I was able to share that with other teachers. They would have that excitement of figuring it out, and then they would come to me and tell me, “Wow, this really worked, and it’s really great. My kids are really thriving.” Being on the end of showing somebody else how to improve and to have a greater impact is great.
What advice do you have for prospective students, especially those interested in pursuing a degree in Education?
Use your education to improve yourself. Don’t just look at it as another step in the rung to get somewhere else. Take advantage of your time here, and don’t be distracted by other things. Really learn what it is that the professors are here to teach you because this is your opportunity to build a good foundation to be great at something. It’s sad to hear somebody say, “I wish I would’ve studied that more when I was back there.” Use the opportunity to learn; don’t take it for granted. It’s an important piece in your development.