ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Jodi Collins always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

“When I was growing up, I used to line up my stuffed animals and teach them,” Collins said laughing. “And my best friend and I in the neighborhood would gather [neighborhood] kids around and babysit and play games.”

But Collins was inspired by more than just her stuffed animals. She said she chose to go into teaching because she admired her fourth grade teacher so much.

A natural-born educator, Collins has been teaching at Fassett Elementary in Elmira for over two decades. She educated fourth graders prior to teaching second.

Collins said she loves what she does, not just because she teaches her students reading, writing and math, but because she teaches them so much more than that.

“At the end of the day, I do not want them to remember me for the awesome math lesson I just taught,” Collins said. “I want them to remember how they felt when we celebrate when they finally got it.”

Collins is also much more than a teacher to her students. She’s also their advocate and their cheerleader and often uses her time off on the weekends to attend extracurricular activities ,like basketball games.