WHITE PLAINS' BURGESS ALFA TEACHER OF THE MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Lynne Elliott Burgess believes that to reach today's teenagers, you must first touch them on a personal level.
|Lynne Elliott Burgess|
"You cannot reach them intellectually until you remember what it was like to be their age," says Burgess, a business education teacher at White Plains High School in Calhoun County. "I want my students to leave my classroom knowing that I care about them as people -- not just as my students or my job. I have discovered that my students are more receptive to the curriculum if they believe I see them as people first and students second."
It is a philosophy that has served Burgess well -- so well that she has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for October and will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. Her school will receive a matching award from Alabama Farmers Federation.
Burgess, who holds a master's in educational administration from the University of Alabama and a bachelor's in office administration from Auburn University, said she begins each school year by giving her students a short synopsis about her own teen years and family "so that they can see me as a person, not just as their teacher."
"The focus is then immediately put back on them as each student then tells me about their interests, both inside and outside of school," said Burgess. "From these introspects, I try to create projects or choices for assignments that appeal to the students individually, and allow them to become vested in their learning."
"If you are lucky during your school years, you will have one teacher that touches your life and has a positive impact on your future and throughout your adult years. Ms. Burgess has been, and is, that teacher for my children," said Theresa Woodard, a coworker and mother whose six children have all been touched by Burgess' teaching.
During 2006, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts as well as two principals and two private school teachers.
Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of www.AlfaFarmers.org.