Welcoming back Thomas Proctor

Indigo Reed, Writer

Thomas Proctor started working at GCAA again this year after three years. So, we interviewed him to update his Teacher bio.

What is your title at GCAA?

“Professor of Dance (it’s a title today).”

How many years have you been in education?

“I have been a dance teacher for eight years, and I’ve been teaching at Grand Center for five.”

Where did you get your certification/teaching degree?

“I got my dance teacher certification at Southeast Missouri State University and then Washington University.”

Why did you decide to become a dance teacher?

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I spent the first two and a half years with my undergrad degree studying to become a physics and chemistry secondary education teacher. But then I realized I didn’t want to stand in a lecture hall for 8 hours a day, so I became a dancer instead”

Where did you work before getting a job at GCAA?

“I worked for a professional dance company in St. Louis called Ashleyliane Dance Company, while simultaneously working at Godiva and Barnes and Noble to make ends meet.”

Why did you choose to apply/accept a position at GCAA?

“Because I always wanted to be a teacher and teaching dance was always my goal. Having the opportunity to teach dance at a school setting sounded like a dream come true.

How do you think your previous experience (whether in education or not) will benefit you as a teacher at GCAA?

“Spending two and a half years as a physics and chemistry major was extremely helpful because I got to learn about different teaching methodologies. Like the differences between how you teach science versus a kinesthetic art like dance have different teaching styles. And getting to spend time with both students so that I as a teacher got to better understand the difference between verbal, visual, or kinesthetic learners and how to teach them to their understanding. ”

Why is teaching important to you?

“[Its important to me] because the quickest way to learn information is to learn it, then you can pass that onto another person to learn and the cycle continues.”

What has been your favorite part of working at GCAA?

“Having my students get the opportunity to have an art form as a part of their daily lives. Having physical movement as a part of your daily routine at school is an amazing thing, as I wasn’t able to experience that when I was growing up.”

What has been the most challenging part of working at GCAA?

“Not so much now, but at the beginning of my journey here I think my biggest challenge was working with an understanding of a different student body. I grew up in rural Missouri, which was a largely white community. Getting to come here and learn through fellow teachers- and students- of different backgrounds helped me to expand my horizons a bit more. Now I think my main challenge would be having an open mindset towards new generations, while sticking to the basics and rules I’ve had before.”

What do you look forward to most this school year?

“I would say our fall and winter performances!”

What is something you want your students to remember you by?

“I would hope my students remember me by knowing that just because you discipline yourself and work hard doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. ”

What is a hobby you have outside of school?

“I practice and teach historical fencing!”

Anything else you think you would like me to know about you?

“I love going to new restaurants and enjoying new cultures and foods with my wife!”