By: Sharon Aron Baron
A Coral Springs resident has been selected as a 2018 Geography Teacher Fellow by the American Geographical Society.
Michelle Albahae, an advanced placement teacher at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek is one of 50 Human Geography teachers who will receive the opportunity to participate in a year-long partnership with the American Geographical Society (AGS). Geography Teacher Fellows Initiative is a selective nationwide professional development program for AP Human Geography Teachers.
During the Fellows’ year in the Geography Teacher Fellows Initiative, teachers will receive an invaluable experience by participating in many activities aimed at expanding their knowledge base in geography and geospatial science. It will also allow them an opportunity to interact with other Teacher Fellows and the diverse members of the AGS community.
A 2001 graduate of JP Taravella High School, Albahae been a resident of Coral Springs her entire life, except when she was a student at the University of Central Florida. She and her family have been involved with the City of Coral Springs Parks and Recreation Department for years. Her mother Adele ran Coral Springs Gymnastics for 20 years and Albahae was on the Coral Springs Youth Commission while she was in high school. She said she loved the city so much, that she came back to live after she graduated from college.
A teacher for 11 years, Albahae has been teaching AP Human Geography for eight of them. The basic premise for the course is the study of maps, population, demographics, migration and culture including everything from folk culture, popular culture, religion, languages and ethnic conflicts, political geography, agricultural land-use, economics and development along with urbanization and its consequences.
“Despite the major breadth of the course, it really allows students to make connections to current events, which makes the course come alive to them,” said Albahae. “It is my passion.”
For the past four years, she has been invited by the College Board to be an AP Reader. This is someone the College Board believes has enough experience to grade AP Human Geography exam essays. So every year they fly her, along with other AP Readers to Ohio to grade them.
“It is an honor to be chosen for that, and now that I have been picked for the fellowship by the American Geographic Society,” said Albahae. “Getting recognition for the work you do by people who are not in your classroom every single day is a really wonderful thing for teachers.”