Melissa Foster knows what it's like to be a kid. She knows what it's like during the fun times and the not so fun times.

The Kyrene de los Cerritos teacher makes a point in her classroom to establish respect between her students. This, with a classroom full of third-graders, is not always the easiest task.

"I stress to them, ‘You need to treat each other the way you want to be treated,'" Foster said.

In her seventh year teaching, Foster was recently granted the Heroes in the Classroom award from the Arizona Cardinals. She received a Cardinals jersey, four tickets to the Oct. 26 game against the Oakland Raiders and four field passes, which allowed her onto the field with her father and son before the game.

"I think that it's great of the Cardinals to extend an award to teachers," Foster said. "It's a really touching award for a teacher. Every teacher deserves an award. We love what we do."

The Cardinals organization recognizes three outstanding teachers in the state of Arizona as Heroes in the Classroom before every home game. Teachers are nominated by parents and community members who have made an impact in their lives.

Foster said she was touched when she read who nominated her and why.

"It was a parent from last year and I remember her little girl was having a rough year," she said. "And I felt I was able to really make a connection with her. I want all of my students to feel safe and comfortable in the classroom. When they don't, they won't want to go to school."

Foster wants her students to think of each as part of a family.

"Obviously we're not blood relatives, but I try to get them to think about how they would treat their family members," she said. "It's about community building in my classroom."

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