HOMEWOOD'S STALLINGS SELECTED ALFA TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- When Rebecca Stallings talks about teaching, she cites the late teacher/astronaut Christa McAuliffe as her inspiration.
"McAuliffe once said, 'I teach. Therefore, I touch the future,'" Stallings says of the teacher who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. "Admiring her devotion to the teaching profession, I believe as Christa in that teaching touches the future, and I focus on creating in my students a desire to be a lifelong learner through recognizing their individual talents and gifts to this world. Simply put, I am proud to be a professional educator because I touch the future."
That's why Stallings, who holds a master of arts degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama, has been selected as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for May. As this month's winner, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school, Homewood Middle School, will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
"My belief is that all students can learn, no matter their abilities, differences, social or cultural backgrounds, languages, race, religion or gender," she says. "I focus on my students as individuals, and I know that they are all smart in many different ways. I do not try to put all my students in the same category of learners; instead, I challenge (them) by differentiating my curriculum."
Doug and Becky Morgan can attest to that. In recommending Stallings for the Alfa award, they told how Stallings brought encouragement to their son Malone, a 15-year-old student with Down syndrome.
"When Malone was in the sixth grade, Mrs. Stallings was the Enrichment Specialist for the play, 'The Diary of Anne Frank,'" the Morgans wrote. "Mrs. Stallings asked Malone to play the part of a German soldier. Malone proudly accepted the opportunity, which has proven to give him a lifetime of confidence because of the experience."
The Morgans went on to tell how Stallings, in offering her eighth-grade Honors English class the opportunity to learn about Down syndrome as part of a service project, made Malone feel a part of the class and further built his confidence.
"Mrs. Stallings has been a blessing to Malone, and we hope to experience more educators that share her same passion during Malone's high school years," the Morgans wrote.
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 www.AlfaFarmers.org.