Teaching reading, writing and arithmetic is important to Amy Smith, a third grade teacher at Westward Elementary in Slaton. But beyond those core subjects Smith puts tremendous effort into teaching her students the benefits of saying please and thank you.
It is possibly one of the most important lessons she will ever share with her students - the value of treating others with respect, but most importantly recognizing it's something you deserve in return.
"They're a reflection of me good and bad. You know if they act up it's a reflection on me," says Smith.
Judging by the students in Smith's classroom, those reflections are almost always positive. But Smith isn't just known for her emphasis on manners, it's the time she spends with students outside of the classroom that makes the biggest impact.
"She's my tutoring teacher and she's nice," says Brittani Sackett, a third grader in Smith's class.
For Smith, spending extra time with students like Brittani is one of the best parts of the job.
"I enjoy it and I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else," says Smith.
Her students couldn't agree more
"The best thing about third grade is being in here with Mrs. Smith," says Brittani.
"She helps us a lot," says Omar Flores, a third grader in Smith's class.
It's her time spent both inside and outside of the classroom that makes Smith a teacher you can count on.
"I just knew always growing up that I wanted to teach and help kids. I just consider myself a second mom to these kids," says Smith.
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