BUCKHORN READING TEACHER IS SELECTED ALFA TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- When Tracy Wilson decided to become a high school reading teacher, she had no idea what lay ahead.
|Buckhorn High School's Tracy Wilson.|
"Sometimes, I am a referee, a therapist and a nurse. I am a coach, a mother or a friend. I am an ATM machine, a crossing guard and a shoulder to cry on -- and that's just on Monday," says Wilson, who teaches at Buckhorn High School in New Market. "I wear these hats with pride because I see this as what good teachers do. They do whatever is necessary to improve the quality of life, and shape the futures of the students they teach."
For Wilson, who chairs Buckhorn's English department, doing "whatever is necessary" meant voluntarily giving up teaching an Honors English course in order to teach others who were reading well below their grade level.
It was a decision that earned her recognition as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for January. As this month's winner, Wilson will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Wilson's big switch came after participating in the Alabama Reading Initiative, a two-week professional development academy. "I had no idea that these two weeks would change both my teaching philosophy and my approach to teaching itself," said Wilson, who holds a bachelor's degree from Athens State, and is working on her master's at Alabama A&M. "After this training, I could clearly see that the most important part of my job is ensuring that my students can read and write."
So passionate was her belief in the value of literacy that she trained with a group of educators to become a presenter for the Alabama Reading Initiative. Since that time, she's worked with thousands of teachers across the country to help them better combat adolescent literacy.
During 2008, 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 AlfaFarmers.org.