National Teacher of the Year Is the Hero We’ve Been Waiting For

The resistance to the current presidential administration can take many forms. While many prominent Americans have publicly boycotted invitations to the White House, National Teacher of the Year winner Mandy Manning agreed to accept her award from Donald Trump… but not without making some important statements of her own.

Upon meeting Trump, Manning handed the president several letters from her students. On the surface, that might not seem too subversive, until you learn that Manning teaches English to refugee and immigrant students when they first arrive to the country.

“In the current political climate, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric is rampant,” Manning wrote in her application for Teacher of the Year. “As soon as my students arrive, they are afraid they will have to leave. Most of my students come to the U.S. seeking safety, but they don’t always feel safe here. This makes it hard for them to share and learn from others.”

According to Manning, her students’ letters communicate both the feeling of being happy to live and contribute to this country and also the shame of seeing the nation’s leader speak so poorly of them.

Beyond her students, Manning represented some other causes dear to her by wearing politically charged pins while accepting the award. How often do you see someone wearing pins advocating for gay rights, trans rights and the Women’s March shaking hands with the president?

It’s unclear how receptive the president will be to Manning’s message. On the one hand, Trump told Manning he was eager to read the letters from her students and asked an aide to set them on his desk so he knew where to find them later. On the other hand, Trump proceeded to give a speech about the importance of teaching CITIZENS (seriously, the word citizens was in all-caps on his teleprompter) rather than the student population Manning works with.

Even if Manning’s attempt falls on deaf ears in this particular White House, it’s still amazing that a teacher of this caliber is being recognized on a national level. The Spokane, Washington high school teacher has taught English to students originally from Mexico, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar, to name a few. She’s generally the first teacher these students meet and she makes the effort to make them feel accepted and comfortable so that they may prosper.

“I know how much my students bring to our nation,” said Manning. “Our country is better because my students are in it.”

Now if only the president could learn that same lesson. It’s a shame Trump didn’t have a teacher like Manning.

Photo credit: White House

44 comments

Joan E
Joan E4 months ago

I had wondered what she was doing speaking to Trump, but I see she and her students had an important point to make. For everyone's sake, it would be nice if he sees the light and corrects all the damage he has caused this nation. I'm not holding my breath.

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David C
David C4 months ago

thanks

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Annabel B
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

David Daisy May Boldock
If integration means becoming like you, full of hatred and intollerance Muslims are better off as they are. The Muslims I know and work with are all peace-loving and hard-working folk who respect the country they are living in but ask simply to be left to live their own culture, as we ask for respect for ours. We can live side by side in harmony you know! As for learning the language, your argument would be worth more if you had a better grasp of it yourself. I bet most Muslim immigants use English more correctly than you once they've been given the chance to learn it. And if people work hard, abide by the law and pay their taxes (all of which they do) why shouldn't they prosper?

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Cathy B
Cathy B4 months ago

Thank you.

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Peggy Peters
Peggy Peters4 months ago

Being disrespectful and ill-mannered are not necessary to make your voice and choices heard.

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

An amazing person. We need more just like her.

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David D

'she makes the effort to make them feel accepted and comfortable so that they may prosper.' Sadly in the US as here in the UK immigrants and rapeugees prosper as soon as they have gone through about 5 countries to get to the land of milk and honey. It would be a start if the learned how to integrate which they fail to do, and i know many Muslims that state they will never integrate. That here just cost Millions of pounds to employ translators, which could be better spent elsewhere. They are too steeped in their vicious 7th Century still. Liberal idiots like this teacher just compound the problems.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson4 months ago

Thank you!

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Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

What a wonderful teacher!

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