We walked into Elena Sanchez' class as she was breaking down a poem with her students.
"OK, so think about the message," Sanchez says.
This veteran teacher has made a career out of encouraging kids to think. What keeps her enthused after 36 years in the classroom?
"Because every day's a new day, every day's exciting, every day the kids are different, they come in with new ideas, I think I probably learn as much from them as they learn from me," Sanchez explained.
Sanchez teaches English at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.
"Once you come into this profession, it's really hard to leave it," she said. "Every opportunity is a challenge, and that's rare in any career, so it's very special."
Her boss says Sanchez is a treasure, the kind of teacher who sets the template for other teachers to follow.
"Ms. Sanchez gives 100% a hundred percent of the time," said principal Lisa Garcia. "Every time you walk into that classroom, she's with her kids, she's involved with them, she's pushing them, she's wanting more from them knowing they can produce more, that's what makes Ms. Sanchez a brilliant teacher."
Sanchez says part of her job is making sure her students know they're free to express their thoughts and feelings, about literature or anything else.
"Sometimes we'll stop talking about language arts and we'll talk history, but it's all connected, and that's what I want them to understand, that it's not just history or language arts or math, but that there's a real connection to all these different subject areas," Sanchez said.
Connecting the dots while inspiring her students to see the possibilities in life. Elena Sanchez does it every day.