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"Jeff Helms, Publications Director"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY A Birmingham elementary school teacher, Lisa Shaddix, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for May. As this month's winner, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa, as will her school. Alfa Insurance Company and the Alabama Farmers Federation began sponsoring the awards program two years ago as a way to recognize excellence in education.

A 23-year veteran of the classroom, Ms. Shaddix currently teaches second grade at Tuxedo Elementary School in Birmingham. She is a graduate of Jacksonville State University with a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Alabama. Ms. Shaddix said being a successful teacher requires creativity and organization.

"Children do not always come to school equipped to learn. Some children bring obstacles such as their environment, home lives and improper attitudes. A good teacher should learn how to work through these obstacles," she said. "I also feel that in order to make a classroom conducive to learning, a teacher should be consistent and organized. Children can be the first to notice a lack of organization and will usually respond in an unorganized way."

To help eliminate obstacles to learning and add interest to her lessons, Ms. Shaddix often utilizes classroom projects and community resources. She has rented traveling trunks filled with hands-on learning materials from a nearby museum for units on bats and dinosaurs. She dressed in a kimono and served her class a traditional oriental meal using chop sticks for a section on Japan. And she created an in-class department store with the students serving as employees for a lesson on counting money. These creative teaching methods have earned Ms. Shaddix the praise of parents and fellow teachers.

"Her teaching methods have produced knowledgeable, enthusiastic and grateful students," said Tuxedo Principal Willie Hampton. "I have had the pleasure of sitting in on many of her class activities and became so captivated that I simply could not leave."

During 2000, the Alfa Teacher of the Month program will honor one outstanding public school teacher from each of the state's eight public school board districts; two private school teachers; and two principals. Each winner is chosen based on an independent committee's evaluation of the applications received.

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