State language group honors Crouch

Mary Crouch at James Clemens High School received the "Promising New Teacher Award" for 2016 from Alabama World Language Association. CONTRIBUTED
Mary Crouch at James Clemens High School received the “Promising New Teacher Award” for 2016 from Alabama World Language Association. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Alabama World Language Association has honored Mary Crouch with its “Promising New Teacher Award” for 2016.

At James Clemens High School, Crouch teaches Spanish levels 1-3, sponsors National Spanish Honor Society and participates with the outdoor classroom committee.

“I was nominated and chosen for the (award) because of my dedication to promoting the learning and teaching of Spanish at the secondary level in Alabama,” Crouch said. In her classroom, she creates “a welcoming, standards-based learning environment in which my students can thrive learning Spanish in culturally authentic contexts.”

In recent months, Crouch has worked with students to increase their assessment skills for “personal, academic and career-related goals to lead their own learning with purpose, guidance and accountability.”

“I’ve challenged students to push beyond their comfort zones to reach for high goals in their path to learning and using Spanish,” she said. For example, she guides students in writing blogs in Spanish and conversing with native and heritage Spanish speakers.

She has encouraged National Spanish Honor Society members to engage in community events, like Columbia Elementary School’s Multicultural Night and volunteering at Manna House.

Crouch finds inspiration from students “who maintain a positive outlook on school and life even in the face of adversity, who always seize the opportunity to turn an impossible situation into a challenge that can be faced through perseverance, hard work and positivity.”

These students “show everyone can do it, if they just set their mind to it,” Crouch said.

Crouch earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a master’s degree in secondary Spanish at Auburn University. She also has taught for Decatur and Fayetteville, Tenn. city schools.

In 2010-2011, she earned a Fulbright grant to teach English as another language at Universidad de Ibague in Ibague, Colombia.

Her husband Benerson K. Little is a writer with five non-fiction books on piracy and historical consultant for “Black Sails” on STARZ and “Firelock Games.” Mary has a “baby on the way, due in June.” Mary’s step-daughters are Courtney Little and Bree Little.

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