TOPEKA (KSNT)- A great, passionate teacher can have a lasting impact on a child, even to the point when they reach adulthood. That’s what one Topeka history teacher is trying to do every day.

Maria Arnold teaches at Most Pure Heart of Mary in Topeka. She has a total of 14 years under her belt, spending eight years in the Topeka Public Schools district and going on six at Most Pure Heart.

“Enough experience to know how things work, but still got a long way to go and more stuff to learn,” Arnold said.

She has always had a love for history, remembering the times when her dad would always have on the history channel or a documentary. It was just a matter of time until she followed her passions.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Arnold said. “But when I got to 7th and 8th grade, I was like I want to be a history teacher. This is what I want to do with my life.”

Teaching students her favorite subject is great, but really the thing that gets her up every day is being able to change at least one kid’s life.

“I always tell my kids, ‘you might not remember what I taught you in social studies, but you’ll remember how you felt when you were in my class,'” Arnold said.

We’ve all heard the saying “history repeats itself” and teaching it in a way that engages her students is something she strives for every time she walks in this room.

“To my 20th year, 30th year, god willing, that I will be even better,” Arnold said. “So I’m constantly evolving and trying to be a better teacher, a better educator. You know, and make good people out of these students.”

KSNT News asked Arnold how she keeps students engaged year after year, especially middle school students. One thing she makes sure to do is to do hands-on learning. This means different projects and presentations with other classmates, as well as making sure the projects are different throughout the years. One of her most popular projects for the school was coming up with the Kansas Wax Museum project at Most Pure Heart. Students dress up and present themselves as famous Kansans for one day.

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