TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Jeff Mann never wanted to be a teacher.
Both his parents had been educators and he grew up watching their struggles.
But now he enjoys it, embraces it. He says it’s in his blood.
"It’s so much more engaging and interesting. It’s constant problem-solving. It's constantly figuring out puzzles and grappling with ideas and with content," he said.
Jeff graduated with a degree in history and then spent his 20’s traveling to other countries.
He doesn’t worry if his students don’t remember all the historical dates and facts. He instead strives to expand their worldview as he did.
"How much more we have in common with each other than the difference amongst us," he explained, "I want my students to leave here with more intellectual courage than they had before — the willingness to take intellectual risks.
Jeff did by jumping into teaching and after 10 years at Flowing Wells High School, he’s now being recognized as an outstanding educator.
Humbling, he said, but he's also "pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing. I like to kind of work away and grind away in anonymity."
And what do his parents think about the teacher of the year nomination? They're thrilled, of course!