When it comes to humble billionaire tech titans, Bill Gates tops the list, every single time.

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But how did he get where he is, and where did he learn to maintain that modest demeanor he’s become known for?

When asked who has the most impact on his formative years, the humanitarian and Microsoft co-founder has always been quick to credit his school teachers.

On his blog, Gates Notes, Gates shares, “When I was a student, I was lucky to have some inspiring teachers — including a wonderful librarian when I was in the fourth grade and a chemistry teacher in high school — who challenged me and brought out my best. They helped make me the person I am today.”

Gates recently met with the United States’ 2018 “national teacher of the year,” Mandy Manning, who garnered the title for her work teaching English to newly arrived refugee students at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington.

Crafting community

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Inspired and intrigued by her work, Gates was curious to know how this sort of teaching differs from traditional teaching roles. When asked what a day in her life is like, Gates reported that Manning had compared it to the time she served in the Peace Corps in Armenia.

“It’s mostly about cultural exchange,” she said. “I bring back what I learn, and they hopefully have learned a little from me.”

She went on to explain to Gates exactly why this form of teaching can be so powerful for newly arrived refugee students, “to be welcomed with open arms and to know that people want you there; that is going to make a tremendous difference in how they interact in their new community… how they move forward in life.”

“Hearing Mandy talk about her students reminded me of one of the biggest strengths of America’s public schools,” Gates said in the post.

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“They are intended to help every child succeed. The fact that some places fall short of that ideal should not obscure the successes that are happening in Spokane and other cities across the country. And behind every one of those successes are super-talented, hard-working teachers like Mandy Manning.”


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