“They are such a good group of kids. My favorite part of teaching them is getting to see that moment when a light clicks on in their mind and they get it.”
Markes is so passionate about the orchestra program at Edmond North that he has begun assisting classes at Cheyenne Middle School, which feeds into the high school.
“A lot of students who are in orchestra in middle school don't stay in it when they enter high school. It's a new place and they're already scared to begin with,” he said.
He said by introducing himself to junior high students and preparing them for what they'll need to know as high school orchestra students, he hopes to increase the retention rate.
Respect from peers
The school district's Professional Development Committee named Markes teacher of the year. He was on his way back to the United States when the committee announced its decision during the Edmond Public Schools Foundation's Celebration of Excellence.
Markes, 33, gave his thanks to the committee and district via a video he had been advised to create in case he should win.
While Markes was abroad, his orchestra was led by student teacher Jeremy Scott, a music education major at Oklahoma City University.
“I wasn't surprised when I heard that he won teacher of the year. From the first time I watched him teach I was kind of blown away. I've seen very few teachers be as effective as he is,” Scott said.
“Whether it's relating music to math or physics or an experience he had with his son, he relates music to something on a daily basis. He holds students' attention because he's not just teaching them about music, he's teaching them about life.”
Scott hopes to become a school orchestra or band instructor after he graduates in May.
“I'll mold almost everything I do after what I've seen him do,” he said.
Markes lives with his wife, Kris, and their sons, Patrick and Vincent, in Oklahoma City.