EXPO Spotlights “America’s Most Inspiring Teacher”

How about some good news for once? Just posted on Reuters, EXPO® (perhaps best known for their dry erase products, and falling under the same Rubbermaid corporate umbrella as Sharpie®, Rolodex® and more) announced that Peter Torres of Davie, Fla., was the grand prize winner of the EXPO Extraordinary Educator Award.

What makes me so happy about this story is they picked a teacher who works to instill grammar basics (which I find awesome!) and break “text speak” such as using “u” for “you” and so on (which I find infuriating!) in a class full of seventh-graders.

According to Torres, there is a time and a place for “text speak” – using a
shorthand “u” for “you,” for instance – in today’s cell phone-wielding world.
But in the classroom, he says students’ increasing use of text messaging to
communicate has taken on even greater concern as it may also stunt their
academic growth. He adds that many students are putting “text language” in
their written materials and presentations.

“Kids these days do not know how to speak in front of people,” said Torres.
“They can express themselves in a social setting outside of school, but they
have trouble communicating in writing or when asked a question by an adult.”

Torres, who DJs professionally on the side, uses his entertainment skills to
keep language arts units dynamic, engaging and focused on the fundamentals.
His lesson plans include everything from challenging students to correct the
grammar used in rap lyrics to using well-known wizardly novels to get them to
unlock the hidden meanings of select prose.

The article goes on to say that Torres was chosen from hundreds of teachers nominated by students and parents nationwide. He will receive $5,000 in cash, a year’s supply of EXPO products for his school, a $900 mimio® Interactive Plus Capture kit and a “field trip” for two to Los Angeles or New York to attend the taping of an NBC Late Night Talk Show.

Teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each year on school supplies – an average of $523 and $465, respectively, in large and medium school systems, according to a 2001 study by the National Education Association. The EXPO Extraordinary Educator Award is EXPO’s way of helping teachers defray some of those costs, and we salute them.

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