MONROE COUNTY'S SAWYER NAMED ALFA TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Sherry Sawyer believes if her students aren't learning, then she must not be teaching.
"I am accountable for what I teach my students and have a responsibility to be a good steward of the time we spend together," says Sawyer, who chairs the English department at Monroe County High School in Monroeville. "I must manage my classroom and structure my teaching so that we get optimum results."
It is that sense of accountability that has earned Sawyer recognition as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for April, a distinction that also carries a $1,000 cash award from Alfa Insurance. Along with that, comes a matching award for her school from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Sawyer holds two masters of education degrees from the University of South Alabama, a bachelor of science from Mobile College, and has completed additional work at Auburn University. She's a member of the National Association of School Activities Advisors, and in 2005, was a national finalist for the Rynearson Award as National Advisor of the Year for the National Honor Society.
"I attempt to think systematically about my methods and learn from my experiences," says Sawyer, who has 31 years of teaching experience. "I make mistakes and I say, 'I goofed,' 'I'm sorry,' and 'I don't know -- let's look it up together.' In this way, I hope I am also saying to my students that it is OK to make mistakes if one learns from them."
Recognizing that no two students have the same learning styles, Sawyer seeks ways to tailor lessons or creatively engage them in learning. Sometimes that means offering students a choice of written or oral book reports; other times, it may be enjoying their own grammar rendition of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'
Principal Larry Turner lauded Sawyer's 'willingness and graciousness' to accept additional duties. "Over her years of teaching, she has served in virtually every type of athletic, scholastic and professional organization at all the schools where she has taught," said Turner.
During 2007, 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.