Positive energy can be felt in the halls of Tudor Elementary School as you make your way to Derrick DeBusk's classroom. He has been an educator in the Anchorage School District for 18 years, priding himself on his ability to connect with students.

"I'm a big believer of multiple intelligence," DeBusk said. "Students have a variety of ways they can learn and, you know, you want to hone those strengths and then you want to, you know, look st their areas where they need some growth and try and support them and guide them in those areas."

Fourth through sixth grade students at Tudor Elementary rotate classrooms for different subjects. While a challenge, DeBusk says he enjoys working with students on different levels and appreciates the opportunity to work with them for more than one year.

"The idea is that they're all our students," he said. "It gives us an opportunity to work with every kid and every kid knows us and all the teachers get to know the entire fourth, fifth and sixth grade student population and so, you know, it's that whole it takes the village to raise the child."

DeBusk says the key to connecting with students is to give them an opportunity to express themselves. Once a week, time is set aside for what he calls a pondering circle. During this time, his students discuss anything from the news of the day to why the sky is blue, focusing on their thoughts and feelings.

"Sometimes it could just be one kid saying to another kid, why were you mean today at recess," DeBusk said. "And they have this opportunity in the circle to, you know, have that conversation. If students are feeling uncomfortable, they just pass, they don't have to share."

DeBusk says teaching is all about sharing love and building self confidence in his students. He finds the work rewarding.

"I love the profession, you know, working with kids," he said. "That moment when they get that concept or when they're excited about that science experiment and it's happening and they're just energized to learn. Those are those moments in teaching where, you know, you have those daily and those are just fabulous and it makes it well worth the effort and time we put in as teachers."

With a simple fist bump or "how are you doing," DeBusk shows his students they are special, encouraging them to do what makes them happy and proud.

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