FLORENCE MATH TEACHER NAMED ALFA'S TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Just because the bell rings or the school year ends doesn't mean that learning -- or teaching -- should end as well.
That's one thing Florence Middle School's Brenda Smith has learned in her 33 years of teaching math to middle schoolers in northern Alabama.
That's why Smith often finds herself fielding phone calls from former students "stuck" on math problems, and even tutoring former students now enrolled in college math classes.
"Students know that I am willing to re-teach when necessary, and that I'm concerned about their progress, even after they leave my class," said Smith, whose dedication to her students has earned her Alfa's Teacher of the Month Award for February and will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. Her school will receive a matching award from Alabama Farmers Federation.
Smith, who was named the school's Teacher of Year for the 2004-2005 school year, is known for going the extra mile to ensure that her young students not only understand, but also excel, in math. "There has never been a student who needed extra help that was turned down by her," said Bill Griffin, principal at Florence Middle School.
As sponsor of her school's math team, her teams have won the Math Counts competition at the University of North Alabama so many times that other schools are reluctant to even enter.
"Ms. Smith possesses an effective style that blends fun with determination, is demanding while being understanding, and sets high expectations but provides the means for each student to reach them," said Dr. Robert D. Young, professor of early childhood education at UNA.
This year, Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation will recognize one teacher from each state school board district as well as two private school teachers and two principals.
Application information is available online in the Ag Links section of this web site under "Alfa Teacher of the Month."