ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Patrick Allison is helping students reach new heights at Pine City Elementary.

A second-grade teacher and the Assistant Fire Chief in Pine City, Allison helps kids learn about math, science, English, history and fire safety.

“I definitely think it’s an important skill like no matter what the kids need to you know be refreshed every year so we’re getting ready [for it] right now,” Allison said.

But for Mr. Allison, it’s about more than just the lesson plan. He says he’s always had a passion for helping people, especially children. His love for teaching was sparked by his mom, who was also an educator.

“Seeing her and what she’s done with people and seeing how kids come up to her you know 30 years later and give her a hug…. it’s just kind of always was a cool thing, you know, just to see the impact that she had on other people,” Allison said. “Hopefully, I’m following her footsteps somewhat and can have that kind of impact on kids as well.”

Allison told 18 News that teaching in itself is a reward, but his favorite part is helping struggling students.

“Seeing like when the light comes on in a kid’s head and they finally figure something out that they had been struggling with for some time [is the best part],” Allison said.

Like so many teachers over the past 19 months, Allison has faced his fair share of challenges throughout the pandemic.

“Everyone’s had to kind of step up their game and work hard for the pandemic,” Allison explained. “That goes for all teachers, you know, not just me. It’s a great profession right now. It kind of has some downs right now, but it’ll get better.