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Distinguished Teacher Jeanette Amezcua

What advice would you give to people considering a career in teaching?

Always keep your promises, even if it means an 11 pm trip to Walmart for the necessary supplies. Display every gift you are given from the expensive personalized desk clock to the humble rock on which is written a single precious word, "friend". Show interest in their interests; when they ask you to listen to them, sing, or to look at the drawing they are so proud of, push the to-do list to the back of your mind and be present as they present to you. Don't be afraid to use the phrase "I don't know" when presented with a new or challenging questionset your pride aside and watch your credibility grow in their eyes. Remember when you forgot your lunch money, failed a test, were bullied in the bathroom, or broke up with your first love. Let these memories shape how you respond to your students when the same things happen to them.

What's the best thing about teaching?

The best part about teaching is watching students marvel at the mysteries of the world, like when they learn that one square centimeter of skin's surface contains more than 100,000 cells. More importantly, it's helping them realize that a head filled with knowledge is never more important than a heart full of love and compassion.