“Yes, we can.”

That is the motto of Wonder Park Elementary School teacher Joyce Banks. She and her second-graders recite it together at the beginning of every class. It also serves as a verbal contract of sorts.

"Because I don't want the kids coming up, you know we're doing a problem, and say I can't do it,” explained Banks. “That's not what you told me this morning. This morning you said ‘Yes. I. Can.’"

KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week has been teaching for 34 years. Her first five were spent in New Mexico. The last 29 have been at Wonder Park in Anchorage. Banks said she was inspired by her own second-grade teacher to become an educator.

“She was a wonderful person,” said Banks. “She used to help us all the time. She took her time to work with each individual student.”

Banks said she strives to do the same while making sure her kids feel safe, loved and encouraged to never give up.

"I want them to know that I am here for them,” said Banks. “And I tell them, your answer might not be right, but try again, don't give up.”

Banks credits the support of parents and staff at Wonder Park with her success, along with a love of teaching and genuine desire to mold her students into the best they can be.

"I want them to go to college. And I want them to, you know, live and enjoy life and take what I have taught them, with them,” said Banks.

Beyond the classroom, Banks works with the student government, helps with fundraisers and tutors after school.

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