NM professor receives prestigious award

Posted at: 10/28/2013 9:31 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico teacher has joined the ranks of just a handful of educators across the country.

He's just received the "Master Teacher of Honor" award from the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. It's an award compiled from a slew of criteria, including teaching experience, community service and leadership.

Dr. Henry Oh, Ph.D., says teaching just comes naturally.

"I started teaching when I was just a kid, like 8 years old or 9 years old," he said.

Growing up, Oh said he would always play the professor in games of make-believe. His friends: the pupils.

"One day my late mom said, 'I know what you're going to be in the future. You're going to be a professor; you're going to be an educator.'"

She was right. Oh teaches medical classes at San Juan College. But, he's more than just a teacher. He's the Director of the Respiratory Program at the college. A program that's vital to the Four Corners.

"Chronic respiratory illness in San Juan County is higher than the state level, it's higher than that national level," Oh said.

It's with that kind of concern that he teaches his students, even helping them beyond the classroom.

One student said, "You can tell he cares a lot." Another said, "His door is always open. You can come to him with any problem." By doing that, Oh says he's still a student himself.

"By learning from my students, I become a better educator or better teacher," he said.

He says he's motivated by this award to continue his path. "I also hope that I will do much, much better, improve myself."

Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society began awarding the Master Teachers of Honor award in 2011. Oh is the only New Mexico recipient.