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National Teacher of the Year: 'We Shouldn't Just Stay in Our Classrooms'

By Kavitha Cardoza

Mandy Manning has not been shy about advocating for her immigrant and refugee students. When she was recognized as the 2018 National Teacher of the Year and met President Donald Trump, she presented him with letters from her students, in which they explained what coming to the U.S. meant to them and how his negative rhetoric about immigrants empowers their classmates to say hateful things.

Along with several state teachers of the year, Manning recently organized a teach-in in El Paso, Texas, to protest family separations at the border and the detainment of undocumented children.

In an interview, Manning told me about some of her early experiences teaching in Armenia and Japan, and how feeling like an outsider informs her teaching. She also addressed how students are feeling more empowered (and why that's not always a good thing), and why she continues to fight for immigrant youth.   

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