Broadcast: April 29, 2004
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
A teacher of English as a second language is the two-thousand-four Teacher of the Year in the United States. Kathy Mellor of Rhode Island will spend the next year as an international spokeswoman for education. President Bush and his wife, Laura, honored her during a ceremony at the White House last week.
For the past nineteen years, Kathy Mellor has taught English as a second language at Davisville Middle School. Davisville Middle School is in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in the northeastern United States.
Mizz Mellor redesigned the program for E.S.L. students at her school. She designed a program to provide each student with one to three periods per day in classes for English learners. How much instruction the students get depends on their level of skill in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The amount of time they spend in these classes is reduced as their level of English increases. They spend more and more time in classes with native speakers until they no longer need E.S.L. instruction.
Another teacher describes this as the most successful E.S.L. program in North Kingstown. She also praises Kathy Mellor for providing help to students and their families. Kathy Mellor formed a local parents group for speakers of other languages. This improved their ability to help their children.
One parent of a former student praised Kathy Mellor for her understanding of the difficulties in learning a new language. She says Mizz Mellor was always there to answer any questions the family had. And she says Mizz Mellor urges her students and their families to speak their first language at home and not forget their culture.
Kathy Mellor was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She earned a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College. Later she earned a master’s from Brown University. She studied teaching English as a second language.
She was chosen for the national honor of Teacher of the Year from among top teachers in each of the fifty states. The Council of Chief State School Officers and the children's book publisher Scholastic organize the program.
As Teacher of the Year, Kathy Mellor will travel around the United States and to other countries. She will talk about the importance of education and the work of teachers.
This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach.