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EDUCATION REPORT - May 8, 2003: Teacher of the Year - 2003-05-07

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

A schoolteacher from the American state of Alabama will spend the next year as an international ambassador for education. Betsy Rogers was just chosen Teacher of the Year in the United States. President Bush honored her last week at the White House. As Teacher of the Year, Missus Rogers will travel around the country and elsewhere to urge better continuing training for teachers.

Betsy Rogers has taught for twenty-two years. She teaches first and second grade at a very small school near Birmingham, Alabama. The school is called Leeds Elementary. Her students, ages five through seven, are mostly poor.

To Betsy Rogers, the possibilities of education are endless. She urges other teachers never to decide that a student simply cannot learn something. Instead, she urges teachers to try new methods of explanation.

Missus Rogers says one of the main problems of schools that serve the poor is that they simply do not get enough money. She also wishes more teachers would work with poor children. She and her husband moved to a farm near Leeds Elementary in the early nineteen-eighties. They wanted their two sons to know poor children and those of other races. She has taught at the school ever since.

Betsy Rogers uses art, music and cooking as part of her daily teaching. She got the school to start a program where teachers follow students through the first and second grade. That way, the teachers can measure the children’s progress. This method is called “looping.” Other schools in Alabama now use this method.

Missus Rogers also takes an interest in her students’ lives beyond the classroom. She attends their parties and sports events. To communicate with the whole family, she even sends e-mail to parents.

Betsy Rogers was chosen for the national honor from among Teachers of the Year named by the fifty states. The Council of Chief State School Officers organizes the competition.

Missus Rogers graduated in nineteen-seventy-four from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. In the past five years, she has completed three more educational programs. She has earned the title of Doctor of Education.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Jerilyn Watson.