Dave Pritschet’s jaw dropped and he stood without words — for what he told his classroom of students was “the first time ever” — at the announcement of being chosen as the 2012 Brainerd Teacher of the Year on Thursday afternoon.
“I think I am still in shock over the whole thing,” Pritschet said to the media outside of his classroom. “Wow, just what an honor to be chosen.”
The Forestview Middle School eighth-grade social studies teacher’s afternoon class was interrupted with flowers brought in by his son, Ronan, along with Superintendent Steve Razidlo and members of Pritschet’s colleagues, culminating with a round of applause from his students who, Pritschet admits, he owes the award to.
“I earned this with the help of you guys,” Pritschet said to his class. “I truly do.”
Likewise, Pritschet said it’s the students that make teaching, and being nominated for Teacher of the Year so fun.
“I can’t give enough credit to the kids,” he said. “A lot of things I’ve learned as a teacher, I’ve learned from my students, just like they learn from me.
“When kids get those ‘ah-ha’ moments and kind of go ‘that’s why it works’, it makes this job that much more worthwhile to me.”
Nominated by last year’s Brainerd Teacher of the Year, Dave Borash, Pritschet beat out 16 other candidates for the award and was chosen by his peers and colleagues as the ultimate selection.
Despite being the final title holder, Pritschet says that he doesn’t view it as being crowned a ‘winner’ but instead a representative.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say every time I checked my email (since being nominated in January) I was secretly checking to see if a winner had been named yet,” Pritschet said with a smile. “But even now, I hate to use the term ‘winner’, because that implies someone lost and I don’t think there are any losers in this whole thing.
“Just being chosen to represent your peers, that’s kind of amazing. I mean, wow, I am still just kind of in shock.”
Pritschet now becomes a candidate for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, to be announced later this year.