SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Everyone remembers that one special teacher. Sometimes they’re so impactful that a young student may decide to become a teacher themselves.

“My second and third-grade teacher,” recalled Kathleen Miler. “She looped up with us and she was probably my first inspiration to be a teacher.”

These days, she’s often called on as “Mrs. Miller” by her fifth-grade students. She’s now well on her way to having the same impact on the kids she teaches. Miller gives lessons on all subjects, but perhaps the most important is the lesson of life.

“Throughout the year, we’ve kind of built on how to be a better person and how to show kindness to others or how to just be better outside of the classroom,” she said.

She believes in pushing for an environment that fosters the power of positivity, even in the hard times.

“It’s called a Positive Behavior Intervention System,” explained Miller. “It’s basically dealing with those behaviors that are unwanted and turning that into more of a positive piece.”

“I think they’ve found throughout the school years that just consequences are not always going to do well with students, right? So, we can’t always just punish for behaviors. That kind of goes down with the social-emotional and everything like that. Finding the root cause of why these behaviors are coming about and then working with the child.”

It’s not always the easy route, but Miller knows that the work is worth the difference she sees in some of her students.

“Yes, we need to teach them the standards and everything like that… I have found my reward is really from seeing the growth they’ve made socially Instead of justice through their academics, ” said Miller. “That’s the biggest reward this year.”

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