OKTOY Blog: Different kinds of teaching

Students are rocket ships, teachers the fuel.
   -Lyon Terry, 2015 Washington Teacher of the Year

One of my most enjoyable takeaways of the OKTOY experience thus far has been gaining new perspectives on our profession. Over the past few weeks I have spent time in numerous K-12 classrooms and spoken with prospective teachers, and I just got back from sharing an inspirational week of learning at a conference with all the other 2015 state teachers of the year.

OKTOY Jason Proctor meets a student at McKinley Elementary in Norman.

I have realized that my knowledge of the education profession is insufficient compared to the vastness of the profession as a whole, yet my love and appreciation for those committed to this craft has grown exponentially.

Together, teacher leadership equals student achievement.
   –Karen Vogelsang 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year

With a career focused on the secondary level, I knew little about how elementary classrooms operated. Many elementary teachers have shared the opposite of that perspective with me. If we really want to get a clear picture of where to take this profession, then those who are leading need to spend time learning about its many different dimensions.

I encourage parents, teachers, administrators, post-secondary faculty, legislators, etc. to take a day or two to visit multiple sites within a district. A wealth of knowledge lies untapped in our peers. The insight into how we ultimately develop the whole child from first day of school to graduation could shed some light on specific difficulties throughout the process of improving student achievement.

Dynamic People. Amazing depth. Incredible growth.
   –Melody Arabo, 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year

I have learned a lot by visiting classrooms different from my own. I watched first-graders utilize tablets to “Google” Frederick Douglas for a research project and fifth-graders stretch their creativity to construct water-proof, tea-filled popsicle crates at the conclusion of their Boston Tea Party unit.

I have been amazed at how Pre-K classrooms transform from seas of four- and five-year-olds running around to calm classes with a few simple words from their teachers. Their routine is well-defined and practiced.

From one grade level to the next there are many differences but there exists one constant, in my experience: the presence of a caring individual committed to his or her students’ mental, emotional, spiritual and physical growth. I proudly call myself a teacher and am honored to share that title with so many amazing people around our state, country and world.

By: Jason Proctor
2015 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year




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Last updated on February 26, 2015