The 2022 teachers of the year from all over the country gathered in Washington, D.C. this week, to be recognized and celebrated for their national recognition.

Bret Dockter, North Dakota’s very own teacher of the year, is among the honorees.

“I got named in September and it’s now April already and you’d think it’d set in and it really hasn’t yet,” said Dockter. “Especially being here this week with 56 of the best teachers across the nation.”

Mr. Dockter says the teachers have a lot to do this week.

“Went to the Smithsonian,” said Dockter. “Today we sat with the department of education and talked about some of the things that are important to educators right now. And in about a few minutes, we’re headed to the White House to meet the president and first lady.”

He teaches sixth grade at BM Hanson Elementary and the principal says she’s thrilled to see Dockter earn this recognition.

“Mr. Dockter is a true, wonderful human being,” said Teresa Harding. “He’s a just wonderful person. He loves his students. He truly cares about each and every one of them and I think that’s what makes him so successful in his classroom.”

Dockter says that’s exactly what fuels his passion — the students.

“They have that eagerness and that willingness to explore and that gets me excited if I come in and I’m having a bad morning, they can turn that around,” said Dockter. “So, it’s the kids and that’s why I think most of us, maybe all of us have gotten into the profession, is to make a difference in some of their lives. And hopefully, that’s something I’ve been able to do over my career.”

He says if people are interested in teaching, they should look into it — not only because it’s rewarding, but also because teachers are in high demand.

“We are facing a real teacher shortage,” said Dockter. “Just some of the numbers I’ve been seeing across North Dakota are scary. We’re gonna have classrooms that are gonna be busting full of kids with not enough teachers.”

Harding says she hopes people are inspired by teachers like Mr. Dockter to pursue the profession.

“We need people like Mr. Dockter in our school systems,” said Harding. “I know that we’ve had students go through our school system, and it’s been Mr. Dockter that they say that has influenced them into becoming teachers or going into the education profession.”

He says he’s proud to be from North Dakota and to show off the North Dakota work ethic.

On Thursday, Mr. Dockter says he and the other 2022 state teachers will be meeting with their state congressmen.