OKTOY Blog: The Power and Influence of a Teacher

To quote Japanese music educator Shinichi Suzuki, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”

OKTOY Peter Markes poses with students.

I was inspired recently when I met a group of teachers at a Great Expectations conference. The title of this blog post was our topic of discussion.

The power of a teacher is to make a child safe, to challenge, and to encourage to give courage. Our power is to create other incredible teachers, police officers, potters or architects. Our positive influence rings in the heads of supportive spouses or co-workers. Most importantly, at the heart of the power and influence of a teacher is our ability to create the next generation of supportive, loving parents that children deserve and constantly need.

Never forget that we are the leaders with many followers dependent on our leadership. Teachers, exercise your power of attitude – choose it.

We can’t lead others until we lead ourselves – embrace and increase your professionalism. We are measured by what we give, and we must constantly search for new things to give. In addition to giving our best prepared lessons and teaching techniques, we must also remember the most important gifts of kindness, patience, peace, gentleness and self-control.

If we reflect on the influence of our own teachers, our memory quickly takes us to the intangibles. Few of us remember a specific art project, unless it still hangs in our parents’ homes. None of us are likely proud of any test score, aside from the one that afforded a great scholarship. Some of us might remember a special visit to a state monument or a time we played in this stadium or that concert hall. But all of us remember how a teacher made us feel – how he dressed, how she smelled, how important we were to them as an individual.

I can reflect on several teachers that I still believe in my heart-of-hearts that I was their favorite. As I have matured in my own teaching, I know that these teachers were highly skilled at giving every student value, making each feel like “the favorite” every day.


Peter Markes
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year 2014

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Blog
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program



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Last updated on February 26, 2014