OKTOY Blog: Welcome to the profession

Last Tuesday I was honored to speak to more than 100 graduating teacher candidates at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. After preparing over the last four years or so, they are eager to get into their new classrooms and touch lives.

Jason Proctor, Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, speaking to NSU gradsOKTOY Jason Proctor speaks to future teachers at Northeastern State University

I took the opportunity to first and foremost welcome them to the noblest of professions and to thank them for making that choice.

I shared my story of how I felt teaching chose me and how I have used that insight to guide me within my classroom during times of both triumph and failure.

I chose teaching not because of the math but because of the draw to connect with young adults. Likewise, very few become teachers because of a burning passion for their content. They don’t teach because they love the quadratic formula, correct comma usage or the Boston Tea Party. Most teachers, when asked why, will give a much more reflective answer that centers on being a source of impact.

In Teach Like a Pirate, Dave Burgess writes, “With a focus on professional passion, teaching is no longer about relaying content standards … it’s about transforming lives … it’s about inspiring greatness.”

I am excited to see how this next generation of teachers will leave their mark on the future. Their youth and enthusiasm are needed in our schools to assist in reminding us all of our passion for the profession and to give those of us who have been there before an opportunity to mentor and learn.

If you are a seasoned veteran of the profession I encourage you to find a new teacher to mentor. Similar to how I became a better mathematician by teaching math, I know that I have become a better teacher by teaching others to teach as well. What better way to enhance our profession than to do it together?

You have a lot of wisdom to share and they, in turn, have a lot of energy and enthusiasm that is uniquely contagious. So get out there and be inspired and welcome our newest members into our great world of teaching.

By: Jason Proctor
2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year




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Last updated on December 18, 2014