Mandy Manning teaches immigrant and refugee children in Spokane, Washington. She is the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. TFK’s Lina Mai spoke with her about Manning’s goals as an educator.
1. How does it feel to be named the National Teacher of the Year?
It’s really a privilege because there are so many amazing educators out there. You can see great things happening in so many classrooms. It’s an honor to be able to advocate for our educators and schools.
2. What have you learned from students?
My students come from all over the world. I have the honor of learning different ways of thinking, being, and doing from them.
3. What is your greatest challenge as a teacher?
The challenges of working with immigrants and refugees are much like the challenges of working with kids born in the United States. It’s about getting to know students as individual people. And it’s about having different people in the same room and teaching every single one of them.
4. What has been your greatest success?
The privilege of being an educator is that we get to impact students every single day. I’ve seen so many of my kids go on to such great things.
5. How did teaching in Armenia and Japan prepare you for teaching immigrants in the U.S.?
It made me open to new experiences and different types of people. Also, I experienced what it was like to go to a place that was different and adjust to the expectations of a new culture.
6. What do you hope kids will take away from your class?
My students come in brand-new to this country. I get to give them the confidence and skills to move forward. I’m their first teacher in the U.S., and that’s really cool.
7. What advice do you have for new teachers?
I really encourage them to take the time to focus on their classroom and get to know their kids. Hope lies within our kids.
8. Do you have advice for kids?
The more good we put out in the world, the more good we will see and receive.