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Price feels lucky to have the most important job in the world

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Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:47 am | Updated: 9:53 am, Sun Feb 26, 2012.

"I think I can, I think I can."

This famous phrase forms the basis of Watty Piper's classic children's book, "The Little Engine That Could."

It can also be heard ringing through the hallways of Kyrene de la Esperanza Elementary School, where Lynn Price and her kindergarten class chant it on a regular basis.

"I try to instill in them a real strong sense of self and ‘I can,' and ‘I'm confident,'" Price said.

Coming from a family of educators, this Illinois native learned the value of education very early on and aspired to be a teacher from a young age.

Price attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she was thrilled that she could ski in the winter while still enjoying a more temperate climate the rest of the year.

Now in her 25th year of teaching, she has been working in the Kyrene School District for 10 years and couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

"They're so dedicated to the growth of every child," Price said. "I wanted to work for a district that valued kids and teachers so much."

When in the classroom, she particularly enjoys teaching her kindergarten class about social skills and how to identify one's own feelings.

"The range of emotion is incredible," Price said. "These lessons teach them how to understand themselves better. It's a lot more than academic."

Price attributes her success in the classroom to the support of parents, along with her fellow teachers at Kyrene.

"So much of what I've learned has come from the other teachers that I work with," Price said. "My friends here at school have made me a better teacher."

Price also brings her own experiences as a mother of three boys into her classroom, and believes it has furthered her understanding of each child's unique developmental patterns.

"I can give the kindergarten parents confidence that the kid struggling in kindergarten won't struggle beyond," Price said.

She relates this idea to her own son who constantly got in trouble for talking in class as a child, but graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in marketing and sales.

"Now he gets paid to talk all he wants," she laughed.

Price loves the opportunity to build a foundation for learning, and hopes that she can inspire a passion for knowledge that goes beyond her kindergarten classroom.

"I just truly believe that teaching is the most important job in the world," Price said. "I feel that I am a very lucky person to be able to work with the children that will be our future.

"We are creating our future."

Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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