HAMPTON (KWWL) -
In the eyes of Tyler Menken, the classroom might as well be the best place on Earth.
"When I was in the third grade, I had the best teacher in the world. She helped me read better than I had ever done, and she really pushed for me. At that point, I knew I really wanted to work with kids," he said.
Menken has worked as a para-educator at Southside Elementary School in the Hampton Dumont Community School District for five years. He works one-on-one with students who may need extra help in the classroom. He says every day is different, and he's a prime example of someone who can't wait to get to work every day.
"Every day is amazing. I take my lunch break with the kids at lunch, just because I love interacting with them."
Menken is the only male teacher in the entire elementary school; so, he said it's essential for him to act as a positive male role model for the kids. Kindergarten teacher Kathy Lewis said it's wonderful to work with Menken day in, and day out.
"He is always very caring, very compassionate with the students. He always wants every student to do their best," Lewis said.
Menken said at the end of the day, he hopes kids love learning; he said if a child is eager to take home a library book, he's happy. However, Menken said emotionally, he wants kids to come to school and feel loved every day.
"I just want them to leave with a smile on their face."
Menken said he plans to eventually go back to school to become a full-time teacher.
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