Day in the life of teacher of the year


Photo Provided

Dalton Savage is awarded teacher of the year.

Adeline Gruen, Staff Writer

Edmond Memorial High School history teacher Dalton Savage is one of the many teachers who stand out amongst their coworkers. Savage goes above and beyond in everything he does, from involving himself in his students’ lives to investing in the future of Oklahoma’s history education program.

Savage ensures that everyone in his classroom feels welcome by staying positive throughout the day.

“I really do love my job. I love my students. I care about them as people as well as members of my classroom community,” Savage said.

Leslie Futrell, Oklahoma History teacher, is one of Savage’s closest friends. When she thinks about the most intriguing thing about Savage, she reflects on the way he juggles everything he does.

“I don’t know how he has time to do all of the things that he’s involved in. He’s on so many different councils and committees, but he finds that time to excel at all of it,” Futrell said.

Savage not only teaches Oklahoma history, AP (Advanced Placement) United States History (APUSH) and AP Human Geography, but he is also involved in the National Council for History Education and is president of the Oklahoma Council for History Education. To make sure he is on top of all his work, he puts a plan in place for what he needs to tackle and keeps an agenda of all his responsibilities.

One of the things he must tackle is making sure that every assignment fits each age group/class.

“Teaching 3 different subjects is challenging in that they are so very different,” Savage said. “So I make sure that the instruction is high quality for all students while also keeping in mind who my target audience is.”

In addition to tailoring his lesson plans for each class, he also makes time to support his students. Savage likes to watch his students involve themselves in different activities around the school after he finishes up his work.

“I also enjoy going to see my students participate in extracurricular activities whether that be going to the volleyball game, to the softball game, to the art show, to the play etc. I really enjoy seeing students excel outside the classroom,” Savage said.

When Futrell describes Savage she paints a picture of a determined, happy-to-please teacher.

“He’s the guy that says yes to everything. He wants to help, wants to be the person that people could depend on,” Futrell said.

Savage strives to make his classroom a comfortable, safe place whether that being through a positive attitude or engaging with his students.

“I think that it’s really important for me to be positive with my students because a lot of the time students are struggling with things that I may not know about or they may be hiding it really well,” Savage said.

When he talks to his students they often feel heard.

“Talking to Savage is nice, he’s an enthusiastic person when it comes to responding,” Wenny Xu, one of Savage’s APUSH students said.

While Savage is extremely dedicated to his work, he also has a fun side. Futrell and Savage have gone on many different road trips together, creating some of Futrell’s favorite memories of their time together.

“During the summer of 2021 during COVID-19 we went on road trips about once a week around the state of Oklahoma together, just to see things that we teach about,” Futrell said.

Besides going on road trips, another activity Savage likes to engage in is drinking tea. He loves caffeine and feels like it helps him to achieve a more focused mindset.

“I often visit a tea house in Oklahoma City called Urban Tea House and the owner of the tea shop Christy. We have conversations about just the power behind tea, the power behind different types of tea, and what those benefits can be not just for your health but also for your mindset,” Savage said.

Despite Savage’s busy life, the faculty at Memorial saw his greatness and named him teacher of the year. When a teacher receives teacher of the year they are chosen by their peers. Teachers all over Memorial put their coworkers’ names on ballots and then from those nominated, they make a final selection. When they make this nomination they must take into account the teacher’s character in and out of class. The teachers at Memorial saw in Savage exactly what they were looking for.

“I would say he’s just passionate about what he does. He really cares about the kids, and he puts a lot of time and effort into his profession and it shows,” Futrell said.

When a teacher is awarded the administration often try to make it a huge surprise, bringing in the teacher’s family, and making a big celebration out of it. To surprise Savage, they had Assistant Principal Brandi Wheeler distract him saying he had a parent complaint. Eventually, he realized the child wasn’t one of his students and went in search of Futrell who did have the student. Upon entering the Freshman Cafeteria, he saw his family and a large poster congratulating him.

“I was incredibly grateful and thankful to the staff at Edmond Memorial High School for choosing me to represent them in this capacity. Edmond Memorial has some of the best teachers in the entire state, and it’s an honor to be chosen as the top teacher,” Savage said. “I am incredibly grateful and appreciative to them and their continued support for me and my endeavors.”

Contact Adeline Gruen at [email protected]