It took Adam Langdon a while to embark on a teaching career after working in business marketing and as a restaurateur. He has spent the last seven years making up for lost time.
“I was always into sports and loved coaching youth leagues,” he said. “When I got out of the restaurant business and started having kids, I couldn’t do late nights anymore. I said, ‘I have always loved math and working with kids. How about checking out this education thing?’ I never turned back.”
Langdon is a middle school math teacher at Congress Elementary, in Kansas City, Missouri, and an adjunct college professor at Park University. He is also enrolled in the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership, Principalship online program at Arkansas State University and is on track to graduate in May 2019.
“I wanted to get better,” Langdon said. “I felt like I was kind of in a rut and wanted to take the next step in my career. Having a master’s degree, I thought the Educational Specialist would be the next step. I wanted to have a specialist degree so I would have more opportunities as a college professor, but also to better myself
The flexibility of the online format was a necessity for Langdon with his busy teaching schedule. He and has wife, Neeli, have two children — Ella (7) and Mila (4).
“What I love about the A-State program is you can do the bulk of the work on the weekend,” he said. “If you have evaluations, you can do those during the week. Then, you can hunker down to write the five-page paper that the assignment might require on the weekend. The program is very friendly for a professional schedule, which was important to me.”
The perspective of being an online student is especially interesting for Langdon since he recently started teaching an online math course.
“The Ed.S. program has helped me see some different ways to be more interactive with an online presence,” he said. “I find it really interactive. It’s not just this online class where you don’t feel like you have touch with the professor or the other students in the class.”
Langdon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Missouri in 2000. He then earned a master’s degree in teaching from Park University in 2012. Langdon didn’t have to wait long to get into the classroom.
“It worked out,” he said. “I started teaching for Park University the year after I graduated with my master’s degree. They needed someone to teach a secondary math methods class, not an elementary one, which is a face-to-face class that I’m still teaching.”
Langdon also did his student teaching at Congress Middle School before being hired full time. Once he decided to return to school for a post-graduate degree, he looked into A-State at the recommendation of a couple of co-workers.
“I wanted something not too far away,” he said. “I wanted to have something where the people teaching there still have the same Midwest values. After I checked A-State out and compared it to some other online programs, it had a lot of prestige, the price was comparable to others
So far, ELAD 6073: School Law is Langdon’s favorite course, partly because most of his family members are attorneys.
“That’s why I didn’t go to law school, but I enjoyed looking up old cases and getting their history,” he said. “I also like the course I’m presently in, [ELCI 6083:] Supervision and Evaluation of Teaching, where you’re learning the proper methods to evaluate teachers.”
Langdon also gained valuable experience completing the field studies required in the online Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Principalship program.
“There’s one where it is more technical about pedagogy where you’re observing teachers or observing the risk management plan of the building,” he said. “There are others that are a little more informal where you’re the acting administrator at a basketball game. I spent a lot of hours doing that, talking with parents and the teams coming in. It was great.”
Langdon knows firsthand the importance of keeping the lines of communication open in an online program, which is something the A-State faculty gets an A-plus for, in his opinion.
“You have to be proactive and stay on top of the schoolwork,” he said. “Also, don’t hesitate to contact your instructors. They always get back to you quickly. If I ever have questions, they are always helpful.”
Red Wolf Tracks
With graduation day rapidly approaching, Langdon is excited to see where the Ed.S. will lead his teaching career.
“It’s going to open up opportunities to become an administrator,” he said. “My district has pretty high expectations. You can’t apply for an assistant administrator position without at least a specialist degree. It will also allow me to be a full-time professor instead of an adjunct professor and allow me teach more of a variety of classes.”
As an added bonus, Langdon has been approved to coach Congress Middle School boys’ basketball in 2019-20. He played basketball, baseball and football while growing up in Lexington, Missouri.
“Next year will be my first opportunity to get some coaching in since I started teaching,” he said. “I want to go into principalship and continue to teach at the university level. Then, when I retire from the public school district setting, I want to go into teaching college full time.”
Langdon is especially glad he took the advice of his co-workers to look into Arkansas State online. He believes the key to success in the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Principalship program is time management.
“Keep some time on the weekends open to write papers,” he said. “Make sure that you look at what the assignments are at the beginning of the week. Sometimes they require doing a couple of little things at [your own] school.
“If you wait to do that on Saturday, you will have lost that opportunity — like observing a teacher or interviewing your principal. A lot of the program is about not just being an administrator but about being a good school leader and how to better your school.”
Learn more about the A-State online Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Principalship program.