Your typical day at Ocean View Elementary has all the sights and sounds you’d expect. Eager youngsters are absorbing lessons and Mrs. Tsukada’s fourth grade students are busy crunching numbers.

"This is brand new, this is their third day of doing two-by-two multiplication,” said Tsukada. “Obviously, we're going to be making mistakes, but learning to go back and look at your work and figure out where you went wrong, that's how you learn not to make that mistake again. Understanding it and analyzing your work, we do that on a daily basis."

Heidi Tsukada stresses the importance of growing from mistakes to her students. The students respond, appreciating her kindness and understanding as they work through new math problems.

Approaching her twentieth year teaching, Tsukada knows that each year and each classroom is unique. Her teaching style is ever evolving.

"You get a new group of kids every year,” explained Tsukada. “What works for one class isn't going to work for another class. A unit that worked for one class might not work for another. You can tweak it… you can't be bored as a teacher. It's not possible."

Tsukada experienced different classrooms and philosophies as she taught in Homer and the Mat-Su Valley. It all helped shape how she teaches the core curriculum, while also growing her students’ social and life skills.

Her classroom is colorful and warm, as Tsukada’s other love is on display throughout. She adores the minions from the "Despicable Me" movies.

"[The minions] are happy. Minions are never sad. They're happy all the time," she said.

Students feed off of that sunny disposition.

"They like them too,” said Tsukada. “I'll be honest, it's really more for me than it is for them, not going to lie"

It’s high energy and high learning with Tsukada, who delivers the right message to her students.

"At the end of the year, I hope the kids walk away remembering the fun they had in fourth grade,” she explained. “I don't want them to remember the tests they had to take. I don't want them to remember missing days having to do standardized testing or being pulled out of the classroom for something like that. I want them to remember they got to come to school one day and compare how a book measured up to a movie."

Encouraging critical thinking and enriching young minds, while doing it with love and compassion -- Heidi Tsukada is KTVA’s Head of the Class.

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