Facing challenges motivates Yang to inspire students to succeed

Kou Yang, NTC instructor

Kou Yang

Northcentral Technical College

Accounting Instructor

Accounting, Virtual College

Kou Yang has faced many challenges in her personal and professional life. As an instructor she is driven to inspire, lead, mentor, and make an impact on people’s lives.

“There was a time in my life where I had to become independent very quickly because of a life-changing event,” she explains. “I was confident that if I worked as hard as I could, one day, I would be rewarded. Despite the long work and school hours, as well as being a single mom, I was able to achieve all the goals I’ve established for myself. I knew that if I could do it, anyone could, with the right level of motivation and dedication.”

Yang’s education began at Northcentral Technical College where she now teaches through the Virtual College program. Like most accounting graduates, Yang started her career in entry-level positions such as funding analyst. After a little more than a year, she was promoted to internal auditor, then staff accountant, and eventually became accounting manager.

She went on to earn bachelors and masters degrees through Upper Iowa University. When she started teaching part-time, Yang knew she wanted to dedicate her time to sharing her knowledge and professional experiences.

“I wanted to help others through the path that I once thought was a challenge,” she says. “And inspire others to succeed, not just in an academic setting but also achieve lifelong goals.”

Yang teaches an average of five Virtual College (VC) classes and one face-to-face class every semester.

“VC classes do not have deadlines other than the last day of the semester,” she explains. “All assignments, exams, lectures, demonstration videos, etc., for the entire course have to be readily available to the student on the start date of the semester.” This is a challenge for her as an instructor. However, she sees the benefits to her students.

“They are able to work full-time, no accrued day-care expenses if they have small children, no long evening classes, no regular travel or gas expenses to and from school, and the list goes on,” she says.

The students are her number one focus. Their needs and accommodations come first, even if it means creating additional exercises or switching her teaching style or spending unexpected additional time on a specific concept to help increase their comprehension level. When introducing a new concept, Yang demonstrates it then explains the why’s and how’s before asking students to practice it.

Her students say Yang is empathetic and helps them feel they are not alone in their circumstances. They also like her quick responses via email.Many of them end up asking her what other classes she teaches before registering for the next semester.