After 29 years in the classroom, there’s a reason Denise Carey keeps coming back for more.

"It's a really great feeling when they tackle something that they weren't able to do originally and then all of a sudden, with some help from me maybe, they're able to understand it and the light bulb goes off and it's really a great feeling,” said Carey.

KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week is now in her 19th year teaching third grade at College Gate Elementary School. She previously taught for 10 years at Wonder Park Elementary School. Her long-standing career unofficially began when she was just a kid.

"I used to play school at home and my brother and sister had to be my students and I always was the teacher,” explained Carey.

While lesson plans have changed over the years, Carey has stayed disciplined in her approach. She said the secret to her success has been setting routines for her students.

"I'm a pretty structured teacher. I have really high expectations for my class,” explained Carey. “I believe, if I have high expectations for them both behaviorally and academically, they'll rise to the occasion and I'm really proud of them. They usually never let me down."

Part of that routine, is making sure her kids feel safe and comfortable in her classroom.

"I try to make it a welcoming place so that they like to come to school,” said Carey.

Beyond her classroom, Carey is also the school’s long-time “Battle of the Books” coach.