SPOKANE, Wash. -- Teacher tend to play an important role in helping us become inspired and chase our dreams.
Ferris High School's Mandy Manning is this year's Washington state teacher of the year and is the running for a national award for doing just that. Her philosophy on teaching is simple.
"You just meet kids where they are and you accept them for who they are, and you love them no matter what," Manning said.
As coach of the Ferris High School Freshman girls' basketball team, you can see that message resonate with Manning's student athletes.
"Well, she pushes us. Not to the point where she's going to beat us up afterward, she's nice and doesn't expect too much but she's still knows what we're capable of," one student said.
When Manning is not leading drills on the court, she is applying that same philosophy in the classroom. She teaches English and Math to refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer center and said this is one of the most rewarding teaching experiences.
"Most of my students have been through a great deal of adversity. And you can see how much they appreciate the goodness about life and so they take advantage of every opportunity," Manning said.
She believes a major part of teaching is relationships and she builds those relationships by visiting each of her students' homes.
"This year we're bringing each family a blanket--the idea is we go and we see their house, see who they live with, we see their family structure how the interact with one another. And really, we just starting building that positive rapport so that they know if they need anything, we're there for them," Manning explained.
It is clear Manning goes above and beyond as a teacher and a coach. Those on the receiving end say it is no surprise that she is the 2018 Washington Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the national award.