Maine Teacher of the Year Talya Edlund was among the nation’s top teachers honored by President Obama at the White House on Tuesday.

“I just can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for this experience! A gift of a lifetime!,” Edlund wrote in a Facebook message about the visit.

President Obama thanked the teachers and said he hoped to send a message to young people that being a teacher is “a dream job.”

“This is an area where you will have more influence potentially than any other profession that you go into,” he said. If one of his daughters said they wanted to be a teacher, he said he would encourage them.

“I’d tell them to be the kind of teachers who don’t just show her students how to get the correct answer, but how to be curious about the world and how to care for the people around her, and how to analyze facts and evidence, and how to tell stories, and how to believe in their ability to shape their own destiny,” he said. “In other words, I’d tell her to be like (U.S. Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes) and to be like each of the educators behind us here today, and the kinds of teachers that you see in classrooms in every state and every territory, and the District of Columbia.”

Edlund is a third-grade teacher at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth. As Teacher of the Year, Edlund is spending time this year traveling around the state meeting with teachers and students and speaking about Maine’s public schools.

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