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October 01, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
October 01, 2009

Dawn Howard
As a history teacher, Regina Dawn Howard has taken countless students on journeys through time and place.

But throughout these travels, she's learned that education is something that can happen anywhere at anytime.

"The true ideal classroom is not contained within four walls," says Howard, who teaches honors and advanced placement U.S. history at Vincent High School in Shelby County. "It is the real world. What the past hides within the parameters of a textbook must be imagined, felt and brought to reality. I want the events, the people, the ideas, the struggles, tragedies and victories of our past to come alive in the classroom."

Her efforts to awaken a desire for learning have earned Howard recognition as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for October. As the honoree for October, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance and her school will receive $1,000 from Alabama Farmers Federation.

Howard, who holds a masters degree in education from the University of North Texas in Denton and a bachelor of science degree from the University of Montevallo, says the key to awakening that desire is through relationships. "Once a relationship is established, students will embark on a journey across time with you," she says.

Her students have taken virtual field trips via distance learning, built sets and stage scenery for a world history lesson, turned a classroom into a castle, held a medieval banquet featuring fare true to the time period, dressed in historical attire and even learned dances and proper etiquette of the period.

"I believe that education must become real to the students in order for them to embrace it," she says.

That's also true in Career Choices, an exploratory class in which she teaches eighth-graders to create a 10-year plan for their futures. "When the students see merit in what they're doing, they become more engaged and interested," says Howard.

During 2009, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation are honoring one outstanding teacher from 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.

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