Student Testimonial: Torrey Proctor
Torrey Proctor isn’t your ‘typical’ teacher.
“I hated school,” he said.
What kept him going was art classes. After graduating from Spirit Lake High School in 1998, he selected Iowa Lakes Community College.
“I chose Iowa Lakes because I wasn’t ready for a major university,” he said. “I didn’t do homework in high school, but I learned how to do homework at Iowa Lakes. I was really building from the ground up. I needed to work on a lot of skills, and Iowa Lakes gave me those skills.”
“But now, I’m addicted to learning and I’m a teacher.”
One class at a time, he started building success. After his achievements at Iowa Lakes, he was confident enough to get a Bachelor’s in Education and Art at Buena Vista University.
He began his teaching career as a K-12 art instructor for two years. While it wasn’t the perfect job for him, he gained an appreciation for teachers – and teaching.
Next, Proctor was given the opportunity to learn and teach digital photography, video game design and 3D printing classes in his hometown of Spirit Lake. The video game design class, in particular, centered on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas of math, art, animation, audio and many other “new, fun things to learn.”
Five years ago, Proctor received his Master’s in Education Media Design Technology from Full Sail University.
“I got addicted to learning,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been gobbling up all of this creative real estate.”
After eight years in Spirit Lake, Proctor accepted the Spencer Schools STEM instructor position in 2014, in which he teaches approximately 1,000 ‘KinderKids’ through fifth grade students in three different elementary buildings.
In this role, he is learning and teaching code and robotics to elementary kids, as well as being part of the “maker movement” that is so popular now.
“In my opinion, elementary kids are the most enthusiastic. A lot of them still love school,” Proctor said.
The art teacher added the title “entrepreneur” to his repertoire when he and four other successful area businessmen cofounded TechKnow. The non-profit business located in Spencer has a motto of: Learn. Teach. Grow.
In the meantime, Proctor continues to carve time from his busy schedule in order to give back to Iowa Lakes Community College. This past summer, he instructed summer camps on 3D Printing and Minecraft.
“Kids love Minecraft,” Proctor said. “Through the use of Minecraft, teachers can teach kids programming and digital citizenship. But, Minecraft takes it a lot farther than just being kind to each other with your actions, you can collaborate in Minecraft.”