Silver Apple Class of 2011-12: Randy Mann

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PHOENIX - Everybody should have a teacher who is kind, patient and soft spoken. Everybody should have a teacher like Randy. Mann of Mesa's Johnson Elementary, the latest recipient of the 3TV Silver Apple Award.

The first thing you notice about Mann's teaching style is how gentle he is with his fifth graders. Next, he gets right down to their level to make sure they are OK, not only with the subject, but with what he calls the X factor students bring to class. Mann knows a lot of families are hurting and that has a huge impact on these kids.

"Teaching is much more than just adding and subtracting and reading and language," Mann explained. "It's also being a good role model. I try to give them a stable environment."

Allie Schuster nominated her teacher for the Silver Apple award.

"He makes things fun," she said. "He makes it so all of us can understand and if one of us doesn't get it, we do it over so all of us can get it."

We surprised Mann one day in his classroom. The apple, along with a $500 check from our sponsor, Novocur Pain Management Centers, sweetened this day of appreciation.

"The Silver Apple Award is recognition of teaching excellence in a profession that sometimes people don't recognize how difficult it is on a daily basis to be a teacher," Mann said.

Difficult but rewarding, according to Mann, who says he feels blessed to be able to help children through his job.