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November 07, 2001   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
November 07, 2001

An Opelika High School English and language arts teacher, Charles Austin Hannah, has joined the ranks of more than 45 Alabama educators who have been recognized by Alfa's Teacher of the Month program since its inception in 1998. As the November winner, Hannah and his school each will receive $1,000 from the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance.

Hannah earned his bachelor's and master's degrees as well as a doctorate in education from Auburn University. He began his teaching career in 1975 at Opelika Junior High School, and has been a teacher at Opelika High School for 11 years. Hannah said his teaching philosophy centers around a healthy respect for both his subject and his students.

"A good teacher respects the subject that he teaches. He approaches his field of knowledge with the discipline necessary to unlock the secrets that lie in its depths," Hannah said. "A good teacher also respects his students as individuals. He creates an environment that encourages curiosity and risk while providing a net for those who stumble and encouragement--or caring shoves--for those who fear."

Hannah has encouraged his students to take an active role in the learning process by establishing a desktop publishing class and the school's "Literary Magazine." He also teaches honors English classes and is responsible for producing the student handbook, faculty handbook and curriculum guide for Opelika High.

A frequent presenter at teacher workshops, Hannah is known for "long reading assignments, difficult tests and teaching English in a way that prepares students not only for college but for life," according to Michael Spain, a fellow teacher and parent of one of Hannah's students.

Alfa recently announced that it is continuing sponsorship of the Teacher of the Month program through 2002. During the year, Alfa will honor one teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts as well as two private school teachers and two principals. Program criteria and application information for the program 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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