Jay Benson | Cotteral-Willow Creek

I'm excited about sharing this interview I did with Jay. Jay and I work out together at the local YMCA in my favorite town #GuthrieAmerica. He is always super cool in the gym. He comes in and knocks out his work out. He then heads off to teach in a super cool program in Guthrie. Well, I'm not sure you would call it a program, but maybe. His classroom is inside a local nursing home. It allows the students to interact with the residents. I stopped by to take photos of Jay and got to sit in on some interaction between the students and residents. Oh, it was so precious. I asked a couple of the residents how they enjoyed having the students in the building and their faces lit up. 

Have fun reading about another awesome teacher investing in students. 

jay benson benson.jpg

Tell us your name.

Jay Benson

Where do you teach?: 

Cotteral-Willow Creek

How long have you been teaching? 

3 years

What grade do you teach?


What is your super power to be able to rock out the work you do?: Patience.

What made you want to teach? 

Nobody gets to laugh more at their job than elementary teachers. Some people may think that's an exaggeration, but it's not. One study showed that 5 year olds smile about 500 times more a day than the average adult. 
I've always enjoyed helping kids since I worked at the Y when I was in high school. It was just sort of a natural progression for me.

What gets you up everyday to go give your all to teaching?

Knowing that the students want to be there. Everyone wants to learn, especially at 4 and 5 years old. They just need someone there to facilitate the process.

If you could change one thing about education, what would you change?

I'll leave the low-hanging fruit of "funding" alone. 

A larger emphasis on early childhood education. This is one area that Oklahoma actually got right with our Pre-K program. The earlier we reach students, especially those from disadvantaged situations, the better chance they have of changing their stars and making a future for themselves.

Teachers are...

My family. Literally and figuratively.

What is one tip you would share to be a successful teacher?

You have to care first. If you're a pretender, the kids can sniff that out immediately. You have to lead with benevolence and everything else will follow.

What would you do if you were not teaching?

Ideally, I'd have a day care for children and dogs.

The last time you cried at the end of the day teaching was because of what?

I mean... I don't cry that much, but the last day of school really gets me.

Who inspires you in your work and why?

The whole environment at Cotteral. The students are awesome and make you want to strive to be a better teacher for them, and the faculty has been so nice and supportive ever since I was subbing in college.

How would you describe a conversation with one of your students?

Hilarious and honest.

What is it that the world does not know about teachers?

I think they don't really know most of the hats we put on each day. Nurse, psychologist, janitor, social worker, safety officer, detective, singer, negotiator, drill sergeant, family, friend, human resources, customer service, waiter/waitress, lobbyist, comedian, mind reader, animal control officer and about 10 more.

Share your biggest joy teaching as of today?

The smiles and hugs I see my students passing out to our grandfriends at Willow Creek. It's incredible how much they can love everyone.

One thing that makes you smile?

When my students greet me first thing in the morning.