2018 Teacher of the Year Antenille Santos: It’s all about love

2018 Teacher of the Year Antenille M. Santos, who teaches English at Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr./Sr. High School on Rota, will continue to reach the child’s heart first and then the mind.

“It is all about…fostering…love. It was my message when I was announced Teacher of the Year last year and continues to be my message today,” Santos said in an interview.

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2018 Teacher of the Year Antenille Santos delivers her remarks during the 30th annual celebration of Education Month on Tuesday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

She described her “journey” as Teacher of the Year as amazing and overwhelming. “But there was [also] so much time away from the classroom which broke my heart. I am here [as a teacher] because of the kids.”

In her remarks on Tuesday during the Education Month celebration on Capital Hill, Santos said as Teacher of the Year, she was able to meet many famous people and listened to many inspirational speakers who reaffirmed her purpose as an educator.

She said what struck her the most were the following words from 2018 National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning: “I never thought to be a teacher and now that I am, I can never see myself not being one. It’s because of the children. Children are so easy to love.”

Santos said “the simplicity in Mandy’s thoughts affected me so poignantly. Imagine if we can foster that instead of simply focusing on academic proficiency. Imagine if we can look to each other for support, not as competitors. Imagine the bigger picture of our role rather than just trying to make it through another UbD [understanding by design]. It is not about graphs or grades or reports or money. My friends and fellow educators, we hold in our hands the future of the world. We must begin teaching the heart before we can truly reach the mind,” she said.

Santos noted the “competition” between Saipan, Tinian and Rota, adding: “There’s little acknowledgment of the fact that we are one.”

Recently, she said, Typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu devasted all the major islands of the Marianas. “These storms did not discriminate. Why should we? All I know is that in the aftermath…we all came to each other’s aid. We all remembered that we are one.”

She added, “We are one heart. One people. One Marianas.”

 Santos said   children  “follow our lead, not just our words — let us show our children how to do so by doing all we do with love.”