After five years substituting in the Mat-Su Borough School District, Diane Hawley finally has her own classroom.

KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week is a fourth- and fifth-grade special education teacher at Meadow Lakes Elementary School.

“I love kids. I just adore kids,” explained Hawley. “And I know sometimes kids have a hard time understanding how to process things.”

Hawley said she knows this first hand, as she too was in special education when she was in elementary school.

“So I know if you work hard enough and strive for that goal, you can get there,” said Hawley.

To reach their goals, Hawley encourages her students to focus on the immediate task at hand.

"Little successes. One step at a time. You don't look at the big picture. You look at the next problem.”

Most importantly, Hawley doesn’t want them to be afraid to make mistakes.

"When I came in here they all thought they had to be perfect,” explained Hawley. “They all thought they had to get it right, or they’re failures. And, they're not. Nobody is perfect. You can't succeed unless you take the first little step.”

A first-year teacher, Hawley attributed much of her success to the supportive staff at Meadow Lakes Elementary School.

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