The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

A Teacher’s Teacher

Long Coaching, Helping Other Educators
Trevor Woodward
Jenny Long has a long history at GHS that goes back to her time as a student. This year, she also has become a teaching coach for the building.

Anyone walking by Jenny Long’s classroom in the English hallway has to wonder how she keeps her students so engaged. The constant chatter of kids discussing with their peers introduces a welcoming and homey environment within her four walls. The classroom Long has created reflects who she is as an educator. She has filled her space with comfortable seating, motivational posters, students’ artwork and a caring space for students as well as fellow staff members.

Attending Gretna Public Schools(GPS) her entire time as a K-12 student, it was clear that Long valued small-town life. After graduating from GHS in 1995, she continued her education at Nebraska Wesleyan and earned a degree in theater. With that degree, she received a job with the Bridgework Theatre Company, but soon realized that she was much more interested in spending time with the teachers than touring with the group. She said she gained some new perspective on how schools function and what the work of teachers really means. Years later, she said she decided to go back to school, this time at the College of St. Mary, to pursue a teaching certificate, which she received in 2004. Since then, she has completed two masters degrees– one in Curriculum and Instruction of English Education at UNK and another in Composition and Rhetoric from UNL. In addition, Long has a graduate certificate in the teaching of writing from UNL. 

Along with teaching and education, family is also an important value in Long’s life. Her husband Robbie is a mechanic at the Kellog’s plant and they have three children. Her daughters, Payton and Malayna, are both GHS graduates and are currently continuing their education. Payton is in graduate school studying psychology in Chicago while Malayna is also studying psychology at UNO. Her son Sawyer is an eighth grader at GMS. Long notes that having the opportunity to teach her own daughters is one of her favorite parts of being a teacher. 

With education being so important to Long, it is no surprise that she enjoys learning about new things in her free time. One of her current hobbies is studying about native plants and flowers and how they affect the different parts of nature. She also said she loves to read and create digital art. 

Aside from being an English teacher and chair of the English department, she is a teaching coach as well. Assisting new teachers with beginning-of-the-year stress, becoming a mentor and sounding board for new hires and helping teachers with situations within the classroom are parts of what Long does. Seeing the need for it in the building, Long said she knew she had to be the one to help. 

“As a first year teacher, I had so many questions and concerns about the job,” math instructor Carly Mahoney said. “Mrs. Long provided me with such good advice and resources to incorporate into my classroom. Because of all her help, I feel so much more confident.”

Long said she experiments with different teaching methods to find the one best suited for her and her students. She acknowledges the differences between every student’s learning styles and works to make sure they are successful. She said she values personal relationships with her students and teaching them things she thinks are important rather than what she enjoys learning about. She also utilizes group discussion often within her classroom, taking advantage of every minute of class time available.

“I don’t think kids need a lot of homework,” Long said. “There’s nothing that says when they cross through the magical portal of their home, they suddenly have a greater desire or ability to learn these things.”

A teacher’s job can be difficult and draining. With the teacher shortage remaining a growing problem in the nation according to the National Science Teaching Association, educators like Long are working hard to assist the teachers at GHS while still managing her own classroom and students. 

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About the Contributor
Cadee McCoid
Cadee McCoid, Co-editor Gretna Media
Cadee McCoid is a junior at GHS and this is her third year with Gretna Media. She serves as a co-editor. She is involved in journalism because she wants to share her ideas and thoughts with her fellow students and staff. Her favorite pieces to write are news and feature. Outside of journalism, she likes to watch movies and hang out with friends.

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