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July 02, 2001   Email to Friend 

Callie Bryan
July 02, 2001

"MONTGOMERY, Ala." A Tuscaloosa County educator, Margaret Hill, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for July. As this month's winner, Ms. Hill and her school will each receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation. Alfa began sponsoring the program in 1998 as a way of recognizing outstanding teachers. A 19-year veteran of the classroom, Ms. Hill received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in early childhood education from the University of Alabama. For the past eight years she has been the lead teacher of 5-7-year-olds at The Capitol School in Tuscaloosa.

She attributes much of her teaching success to the incorporation of life skills into her daily lessons. In addition to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, Ms. Hill emphasizes behaviors such as friendship, perseverance, responsibility, problem solving, patience and integrity. "These skills will enable the children to be successful in meeting their educational, work and civic goals," said Ms. Hill. Ms. Hill also stresses student interaction. "In my classroom, you'll see the children interacting to learn, not working alone in isolated desks. In the real world, people work together. Children need to learn these 'people' skills at school," she said.

Ms. Hill believes that reading is an essential skill for her students. She has a daily reading conference with each child, encourages the children to read to each other and allows the students to take books home to read to their parents. Barbara Rountree has followed Ms. Hill's career for 18 years--first as her college professor and later as a parent of Ms. Hill's students and as director of The Capitol School. She describes Ms. Hill as one of the five best teachers she observed in 31 years of teaching, adding that more than 400 public school teachers have taken professional leave to visit Ms. Hill's classroom.

During 2001, Alfa will honor one teacher from each of the state's eight public school board districts as well as two private school teachers and two principles. Program criteria and applications are available by clicking on "Alfa Teacher of the Month" in the "Ag Links" section of the Alfa Farmers website, www.alfafarmers.org.

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