Chris Long: Combination of Energy and Patience

Educator-chris-longIf you’re looking for social studies teacher Chris Long of Tates Creek High, don’t turn toward his desk. You’ll never find him there. The energetic, 27 year old is a study in motion in the classroom.

“In four years, I’ve never sat behind my desk when I’m teaching,” he said. “I’m up, moving around among the students because that’s the best way to interact with each student.”

Long’s upbeat approach engages students, paving the way for them to meet the high standards he sets in his psychology and social studies classes. Students learn life lessons in emotional intelligence to better navigate the challenging world they will inhabit upon graduation.

“I provide a stable, positive, rigorous atmosphere where they will learn the value of hard work and pushing themselves,” he said. “My goal is to prepare them to be successful people in society.”

Long embraces his position as a role model, perhaps because he witnessed the same in his own family. His mother just retired after 30 years in the classroom and his grandmother logged 35 years in education. In fact, Long is a fifth-generation teacher in his family.

He has developed (or maybe inherited) a special trait in the best teachers – patience. That seems especially rare in a young high-energy teacher like Long.

“Patience goes a long way with kids,” he said. “I’ve had to work at it but I’ve learned to listen, not to judge. If a kid is having a bad day, I don’t take it personally. Maybe he’s having a hard time at home.”

While Long educates his students, he realizes he has learned much from them, as well.

“Teaching is a humbling experience,” he said. “I walk out of here awed by what students do and what they are up against. Students don’t get enough credit. We have to realize that they are growing up in a complicated world.”

That perspective in a young teacher makes him special, according to Tates Creek High Principal Sam Meaux.

“He has a solid moral compass,” Meaux said. “He’s ethical and very mature in his approach. Plus, it’s always a good day for him. The truth is, he’s just a good human being and he’s good to his students.”

Who could ask for more?

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