the 2001 National Teacher of the Year, Michele Forman is traveling
the country meeting students, teachers, business leaders, and
elected officials. This area is dedicated to keeping you in
touch with Michele as she goes from state to state and to giving
Michele an opportunity to share her experiences with her peers
in the teaching community.
The rewards I find in teaching are rooted in the joy
of not only watching but also being part of my students
learning and development, said Forman, who teaches social
studies at Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, Vermont.
A good teacher needs not only a good understanding of
what he or she teaches, but also a sense of excitement in
learning and a clear vision of how the key elements of a subject
can be conveyed to students.
With this philosophy Forman emphasizes an incredibly strong
teacher and learner relationship. Without mutual trust,
students are wary of accepting the risk and vulnerability
of learning, she said. For them, the threat of
feeling or appearing inept or incompetent is best overcome
with the support of a teacher in a caring, accepting and respectful
Among Formans many beliefs about education, she is
especially passionate about classes that include students
with varied backgrounds and ability levels. Education
is enriched for all students when learners bring their different
experiences, perspectives and skills to the group, she
Forman was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, on April 7, 1946.
Leaving Sylvan Hills High School in Atlanta, she went to Brandeis
University and in 1967 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in
history. She holds a master's degree in teaching from the
University of Vermont.
In the late 1960s she served as a Peace Corps volunteer,
teaching health in Nepal. Forman was an alcohol and drug education
curriculum specialist for the Vermont Department of Education
before coming to Middlebury.
Professional activities include memberships on the History
and Social Studies Academic Advisory Committee and the Academic
Council of the College Board, and the Vermont Department of
Education Task Force on High School Reform. She has helped
develop history teaching standards for several organizations
and is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching
Forman lives in Salisbury, Vermont, and is married to Dick
Forman, a semi-retired professional musician. They have three
children, Elissa, a psychotherapist in Florence, Massachusetts;
Laura, a University of Vermont student; and Tim, a student
at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.