Posted in Introductions, Miscellaneous

Susan Huff’s journey through education

G1-BYU freshman
Susan Huff, far right, stands with her roommates in front of Carroll Hall during their freshman year at BYU.

When I entered BYU as a freshman, tuition was $240 per semester, girls could not wear jeans on campus, and Ernest L. Wilkinson was President of BYU. I got a job as a part-time secretary in the Graduate Dean’s Office in the Administration Building because I could take shorthand at 120 words per minute and type at 100 words per minute on an electric typewriter (with no correction device or spell check); I earned $1.75 per hour—about $70 twice monthly. One paycheck covered tithing, my $35 monthly rent at Heritage Halls and my orthodontist payment of $25 per month. After tithing, the other $70 check covered my living expenses. Right now you are probably saying, “Wow, how times have changed!” Some things have definitely changed at BYU. Heritage Halls have been torn down. Although minimum wage has more than quadrupled since I was a freshman, tuition is 10 times greater now. Working full-time over the summer covered my tuition; working 20 hours per week during school covered my living expenses. It would be extremely challenging nowadays for a student to earn enough at a minimum wage job to cover both tuition and living expenses.


Although many things have changed, there are some things that have remained the same. BYU is still a fabulous place to earn a degree in a gospel-centered environment. The Star Spangled Banner is still played at 7:50 a.m. each morning across campus; I hope everyone still stops and stands at attention. The McKay School of Education still turns out a great, marketable product in their graduates, who positively impact the field of education. I received a great pre-service education at BYU, but I have continued to learn and grow through my association with the McKay School of Education over many years. Let me explain.


I married Richard Huff during my junior year and graduated from BYU 10 days over-due with our first child. My plan was to be a stay-at-home mom, but all that changed when my husband, a high-school business teacher, had an opportunity to enter a business partnership in our home town of Spanish Fork, Utah.   He was working nights at 7-11 to provide for our family that now included three children. Then during the day he was running the business. I suggested that perhaps I should teach for a year or so until the business could support our family.


Susan's Graduation 136
Susan Huff, left, stands with her department chair Dr. Ellen Williams when she received her doctorate degree.

Before I knew it, “a year or so” turned into 34 years. I taught first grade, fourth grade, and gifted pullout for 18 years. I worked two years at BYU as a Clinical Faculty Associate working with pre-service elementary education students while I was completing a master’s degree in educational administration. I earned a doctoral degree from BYU in educational administration and worked 14 years as an elementary school principal in three different schools within Nebo School District.
In addition to my formal education at BYU, some of my richest learning experiences resulted from my work with the BYU/Public School Partnership. In 1985 I was teaching fourth grade at Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork when the school became one of the first partnership schools. I collaborated with Dr. R. Carl Harris followed by Dr. Jess Walker from BYU, who were great mentors and teachers with the partnership. I had opportunities to teach pre-service teachers, present at conferences, and participate in educational research.


Susan Huff received the Distinguished Alumni Award, was named Utah’s National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and works as an educational consultant.

Later as a principal, I participated in the first CITES (Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling) Principals’ Academy, and then had many opportunities to present at subsequent academies. Through Principals’ Academy, I was introduced to the Professional Learning Communities Model of school improvement. Applying principles from this model helped turn our school from the lowest performing school in Nebo School District to a school where students performed well. In 2006, I was named Utah’s National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals because of the great work our school staff had done to improve learning for our students. That led to my part-time work as an educational consultant with Solution Tree, a publishing company that publishes school improvement books, and conducts workshops and institutes across the country.


Although I retired from the principalship in 2013, I continue to work as a consultant, helping schools learn and apply school improvement principles. I have loved my career as an educator! I feel deep gratitude for the formal education I received at BYU, along with a multitude of learning experiences I received through the BYU/Public School Partnership. Teachers change lives!   It is a great honor to be a teacher and a graduate of the McKay School of Education.

Posted in Introductions

Motivation and Inception

Hello! My name is Chantelle Moon, and I am very excited to start blogging. I am a freshman and will start the Elementary Education program this fall. Some of my favorite things include the piano, family, birds’ chirping, To Kill a Mockingbird, yoga, airplane take-offs, flowers, pasta, and (of course) teaching.

This year I have added volunteering to that list of favorite things. I currently volunteer with the Provo Youth Mentoring program and help a girl in kindergarten. This experience has taught me just a little bit of what it takes to motivate people to work hard and learn well.  Trying to motivate her reminds me of a high school leadership conference I attended. The keynote speaker told us that there are three ways to motivate people. The first is verbally, and t’s the most common but least effective. A reproving lecture usually doesn’t create real motivation, just annoyance or fear. The second way, which is more effective, is to show the person an experience of someone else that relates to the message you are trying to send. This helps people see deeper into the issue. But the most effective way to motivate people is through creating an experience for them so they learn things firsthand.

I realized that this relates well to the movie Inception. In this movie, a team of people try to plant an idea in someone’s mind through entering his dreams. In the movie plot, the actors have to go deep into a person’s dreams in order for an idea to take hold. This also made the dreamer think the idea was his own.

Motivation is similar. Motivators need to plant ideas “deeply” so people feel like the idea to complete a goal or work hard is their own. I think that is why creating an experience is vastly more influential than verbal persuasion. Going through some kind of experience helps people think through and develop their own ideas instead of simply being told something.I think this is very important for teachers. We cannot simply tell kids information or try to force them to work hard. Instead, we have to be creative in making experiences that the kids remember. Through these created experiences, students can learn the information and abilities to work hard and succeed.

Do you have a time when a teacher created an experience for you or you created an experience for someone else? What are your thoughts about it?

Posted in Elementary Education Preparation, Introductions

Incredible Me

Hello! As you can see from the title, I am incredible. Why? Because I’m me. Well, you may be asking, “Who are you?” I’m Allison, a senior at Brigham Young University majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in TESOL K-12 (Teaching English to Students Of Second Languages). This fall I will be doing my internship/first year teaching at Mapleton Elementary in Mapleton, UT, which is part of the Nebo District. I will be an official Mapleton Mountaineer.  This adventure is going to be one of the most exciting, challenging adventures of my life, even though bungee jumping in New Zealand comes in at a close second!

Yes, I was able to jump off a 43 meter bridge in New Zealand in the beautiful city of Queenstown. Even though that was super exciting, the best part was being able to teach five- to seven-year-old (first and second grade) students  in a local primary school in Auckland. As part of the education program I had the incredible opportunity to do my second cohort (teaching experience as part of the elementary education program) abroad…and yes, do some amazing traveling in the beautiful country of New Zealand. I loved that I was able to miss winter in Utah and get two summers this year of 2011. Overall, the best lesson I learned in New Zealand was to live with faith and let life be Kai Pai—”everything is good.”

Now that I am back in Happy Valley, I am enjoying the sun, running daily (I just finished my 3rd half-marathon June 25th), finishing up my TESOL minor with a practicum experience at Park Elementary, setting up my classroom, gathering supplies for the upcoming school year, and spending time with the people I love most.  For the past three weeks (with four more to go) I’ve been teaching small groups of sixth graders four hours a day, four days a week, and loving every minute of it. I never realized how fun it is to laugh and joke with preteens/tweenagers.

My purpose in writing for this blog is to inform and inspire you—prospective teachers, teachers, alumni, and other students—to be the best person you can be as you decide about the path you are going to take. I’ll write about everything from changes in the Elementary Education program (what that means for students who are just entering the program or who just entered last semester but must follow the changes), to how to rock it on those first days of school based on the book “The First Days of School” by Harry Wong, to important dates and deadlines for Elementary Education students. It’s going to be a great summer, and I am so excited to start this blog and share with you my experience as a teacher 🙂

Posted in Introductions, Secondary Education Preparation

Destination: A Place for Learning

A few summers ago, I worked as a summer camp counselor. The job required me to travel quite a bit to different college campuses located all over the US, and because of this, I spent some time traveling on airplanes. As I sat on the airplane, waiting for the change in inertia that would accompany take off, a flight attendant would introduce the crew and give the destination of the airplane. Seeing as this is the take off point for this student blog, I thought I would provide the same courtesy.

Welcome to “No Greater Call,” the student blog for the McKay School of Education. My name is Curtis, and I will be your blogger. I am a secondary education major, specializing in social science teaching, and I am also pursuing a minor in teaching English Language learners. I transferred to BYU in 2009 from Eastern Arizona College with an associates in psychology. After finishing my degree at BYU, I want to teach for a few years, and then get a maters in counseling in order to work as a school guidance counselor.

My goal for this blog—our ‘destination,’ if you will allow the airplane analogy—is to create a forum for undergraduate students to learn and discuss what it is like to be an education major. I want to provide important information about the program for those thinking about pursuing an education degree while also opening discussion on typical education topics such as No Child Left Behind, English as a Second Language, and even educator marketability.

As many of  you will come to learn, whether or not you’re an education major, collaboration is the best way to learn and improve. Hence, as we journey through the world of education, I would ask for you feedback, your ideas, and your opinions. This blog is not just about learning; it should be a place of learning. Therefore, learning together is the destination for this student blog. If you have any ideas of what you would like to see in this blog, please leave a comment.