Nikki Allen gives her students the confidence to be who they are and embrace their differences. She says it’s one of the joys of teaching.

 

“They’re just kind of learning who they are, and you help develop that and encourage them to go ahead and be themselves,” said Allen, a first- and second-grade teacher at Lake Hood Elementary School.

 

Allen says her success stems from communication with her students. The more they talk with her, the more she gets to know them and what they need from her.

 

“They’re first and second graders, but I can talk to them like it’s my husband sitting on the couch,” Allen said. “They work harder for you when you’re a part of their life. Building a relationship is number one.”

 

Allen doesn’t just teach, she learns from her students daily.

 

“They blow my mind every day,” Allen said. “Not just facts that they have to tell me but the things they do, the creativity they have. I learn something new every day.”

 

 

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