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OKToy Blog: The power of team

The first Saturday of November every year holds a special place in my heart. That’s when high school distance runners gather in many places across the country to compete at state championships. This weekend I took part in such a display and was reminded again that our profession extends beyond textbooks, standards, assessments or trophies.

Jason Proctor and his distance running team pose with state runner up trophies

I had the privilege of coaching the Tahlequah cross country teams in their final event of the season. All season long we worked to physically prepare their bodies and minds to handle racing at the highest level, while also practicing traits of excellence, character and selflessness. The results were powerful. On the scoreboard we walked away with State-Runner-Up finishes in both the girls and boys competition, but the most impressive and memorable takeaways for me will extend beyond the medals and trophies.

I witnessed seven young women and seven young men push themselves to their physical limits not for individual glory but for the benefit of one another. Over the season I watched 43 individuals work towards a common goal, and I saw them develop something that extends beyond just running. Capturing the true essence of team doesn’t come easily and some seasons it seems to not materialize at all. I have come to realize moments like the ones I witnessed this year are rare and therefore should be cherished.

Too often we get caught up in chasing our own personal agendas and forget the power of team. Within our classroom, our departments, our families and our communities there are endless opportunities to develop the characteristics of team. The foundation of team lies in the relationships we have with others. I am proud of my athletes’ accomplishments on the course but most impressed by their level of commitment to one another.

By: Jason Proctor
2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year





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Last updated on November 7, 2014