When I was a student, I was lucky to have some inspiring teachers—including a wonderful librarian when I was in the fourth grade and a chemistry teacher in high school—who challenged me and brought out my best. They helped make me the person I am today.
I recently met a remarkable teacher who is doing the same thing for kids who face obstacles I never could have imagined when I was in school. Her name is Mandy Manning and she teaches English and math in Spokane, Washington, to immigrant and refugee teenagers who have just arrived in the United States. They come from all over the world: Syria, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Mexico, Tanzania, even Chuuk State. They show up at school speaking little or no English. Some have fallen far behind in other subjects after months or years of living in refugee camps. Mandy is the first teacher they encounter in this country.