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December 02, 2003   Email to Friend 

MOBILE COUNTY MATH TEACHER NAMED ALFA TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
December 02, 2003

Michael Fletcher
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A Mobile County mathematics teacher, Michael Fletcher, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for December. As this month's winner, Fletcher will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance Co. and his school, W.P. Davidson High School, will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.

A graduate of the University of South Alabama (USA), Fletcher began his teaching career in 1998. He has since earned a master's in secondary education from USA as well as a greater appreciation for the contributions his students can make in society, regardless of their academic aptitudes.

"Students frequently ask me what I think they should do for a living. I tell them to find what they love to do and do that to the best of their ability," said Fletcher. "Some children are already artists or musicians, some are bricklayers or car-washers, and some are mathematicians or scientists. It is not my place to judge the quality of each one's gift or contribution to society. I have found what I love to do is teach. I do that, and I do it to the best of my ability."

This philosophy stands in sharp contrast to Fletcher's previously held belief that a college education was requisite for people to be productive members of society. Today, however, he lives for those "ah-ha" moments when students first grasp a difficult mathematics concept and begin to understand how math affects all aspects of their lives.

"I see teaching opportunities wherever I go," Fletcher said. "Last summer I pulled over to the side of the road to take a picture of a building that was built to look like a shape I teach in geometry. I implement many ideas and opportunities from outside of school in my lessons. I hope that it adds relevance to my instruction, so students will see how useful and how much fun math can be."

Fletcher also encourages student participation and learning through the use of technology. He has taught his students to use graphing calculators to plot the mathematic functions that allowed Halley to predict when the comet that bears his name would reappear as well as the formulas that help doctors use sound waves to break up kidney stones. Fletcher also has taught his fellow teachers how to incorporate technology into their classrooms during workshops in Alabama and Ohio.

Fletcher said his commitment to teaching is rooted in the belief that education is the best investment one can make in the future of the country. "Students offer a much greater return than any stock. When you find what is within them to give, they will not only reap personal rewards, but they will return great dividends to society," Fletcher said.

During 2004, Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts as well as two private school teachers and two principals. Application information is 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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