National Teacher of Year coming to Langley

Offers insight into lives of refugee, immigrant students



Washington state’s Mandy Manning, named 2018 National Teacher of the Year, will speak about inclusion Monday at South Whidbey High School.

The high school teacher was named top educator by the Council of Chief State School Officers for helping children to “overcome their fears and seek out new experiences.”

Manning teaches English to newly arrived immigrants and refugees for the Spokane School District, where 77 different languages are spoken by students.

As the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Manning will spend a year traveling nationally and internationally to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers.

“This year, I hope to engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding,” Manning said in a press release. “In the current political climate, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric is rampant. I must help them understand current events, know their rights and provide a safe and welcoming environment.”

Her presentation in Langley is free, open to the public and sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

In May, Manning took her message to the White House where she staged what the national press dubbed “a silent protest.”

While accepting her award from President Trump, Manning wore several pins and badges supporting inclusion. After the ceremony, Manning told the Associated Press that she used a private moment with the president to hand him letters written by her students in the hope that he would read them and visit the school.

Manning said the goal of the letters was to offer insight into the lives and views of refugee and immigrant students.

“Like American students, most of what my students know about the other cultures comes from television and the Internet,” Manning said. “This leads to misunderstandings and misinformation on all sides. It’s my job to help newcomers learn about and experience real life in the United States.”

She also met with Bill Gates in August who wrote about Manning in a blog post, “What I learned from a teacher of refugees.”

Manning said she believes that educators must build real human relationships inside and outside school walls to better meet the needs of students and create compassion and empathy for young people.

“Let’s teach (students) to be brave when confronted with uncertainty. Brave when they fail. Brave in meeting new people. Brave in seeking opportunities to experience things outside of their understanding.”

Mandy Manning, 2018 National Teacher of the Year presentation; 7-8:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15 at South Whidbey High School, Langley. Free, open to public.

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