Fourth-grade teacher Amanda Christensen (SD '16) tells her students about the farm chores she did when she was their age, from yard work to caring for cattle and breaking horses: "I want to help them understand that they can do anything."
Lisa Richard (OR '16) loves math because each problem offers so many different paths to the same solution. She focuses her third-graders on the process rather than the answer: "What strategy did you choose?"
Thomas Dennison (MD '16) focuses on big ideas and aspirations to help his fifth-grade students figure out who they really are: "I want them to remember that every day offers them a chance to do great things by serving and taking care of others."
Allison Ruhl's favorite thing about her first-grade students is their honesty. "If they love you, they will tell you," says Mississippi's 2016-17 Milken Educator. "And if your hair looks weird one morning, they'll tell you that, too."
Felicia Casto (CO '16) spends weekdays immersed in math with students and colleagues, and weekends and summers with the cattle and horses on her family's ranch in the mountains: "I have the best of both worlds."
First- and second-grade teacher Paul Campbell (AK '16) loves the way his young students reflect whatever he's feeling or is excited about: "It's a huge reminder for me each day to model a genuine love for learning new things."
STEM specialist Lukas Hefty (FL '16) believes that engineering should be part of every classroom, beginning in kindergarten: "It provides a real-world platform for the application of science, mathematics and technology."
Male teachers tend to shy away from elementary education, but fifth-grade teacher Eric Crouch (GA '16) saw that as an opportunity: "Our youngest students need positive male interaction, influence and role models."