ST. LUKE'S EPISCOPAL TEACHER IS ALFA TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- She created a program to teach Spanish to kindergartners through eighth-graders, but it's her philosophy that led to Sue Banks' selection as the first private school teacher this year to be named Alfa's Teacher of the Month.
"I have three common beliefs about educating children," said Banks who, as this month's winner, will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school -- St. Luke's Episcopal School of Mobile -- will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
"First of all, I want to teach students to become independent and responsible for their actions because learning responsibility is an important factor in life. Secondly, I want to expose them to as much as I possibly can because I believe the more they learn the more they will be able to think. Lastly," she said, "I hope to instill in them the desire to become life-long learners."
Banks, who holds a bachelor's in secondary education and a master's in supervision and curriculum from the University of Alabama, has sought to implement that philosophy wherever she has taught. In the 1970s, that was at Mobile's Davidson High School, where she taught German and English, and at Holt High School near Tuscaloosa, where she taught Spanish and English.
She also sought to use that philosophy at The Arnold School in 1988-89 where she taught German to students in a one-to-one setting.
Yet, Banks admits that it's much more challenging to put ideas into action.
"It's hard to look at a tearful child who has left his assignment at home and not want to give him a second chance unless there are extenuating circumstances," she said. "I have to use this time to teach him the importance of responsibility. It is also difficult when I am grading a paper and have to mark a student's work down because of careless mistakes."
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.