SPOKANE, Wash. - One of four teachers nominated from across the country, Ferris High School's Mandy Manning is nominated for National Teacher of the Year. She currently holds the title of Washington State Teacher of the Year and has been an educator for 19 years.
"The impact you can have as a teacher is really incredible," said Manning.
Manning teaches in Ferris's Newcomer Center, introducing new immigrants and refugees to the English language and American culture.
In her classroom, reading, writing, acting and computer work are all on the table, but she takes things up a notch in her teaching.
"I really really focus on who my students are as learners and as human beings," she said.
She points to her students as her motivation.
"These kids are so awesome," she said. "Especially these ones. They are brand new to the country and the language, and they jump right in and are excited."
Her students come from all over the world, some of her current students came from Afghanistan, Iraq and as Guatemala.
Manning's classroom is a safe place for them to learn the language, understand a culture they are learning to call their own and to make friends," she said.
"Just to see them adapt and learn their new environment and see them become confident enough to use the language, its... I can't even describe it," said Manning.
For future teachers she has this advice.
"Its not always about the content that we teach, its not about giving the knowledge, its about helping kids make connection and making connections with them," she said.
She has another round of interviews before the final decision is made. She hopes to find out if she will be named National Teacher of the Year by the end of April.
More information on the other nominees can found here.