June Trucker Buddy of the Month, Beth Eder and her dog, Teddi.
DELHI, Iowa — Third graders at Delhi Elementary School in Delhi, Iowa, have a partner in education and a great role model thanks to the volunteer efforts of truck driver Beth Eder, who has been named the June 2007 ACS MultiMedia Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month.
Eder goes far above and beyond the basic requirements of the program, which includes sending a postcard once a week to the classroom.
“Beth is incredibly prolific with correspondence. My students receive postcards from all over the country on a regular basis. We have a big wall map dedicated to tracking Beth’s travels, said teacher Susanne Reiter, who has been matched with Eder for more than six years. Whenever we receive a postcard from a state, the students vie for the chance to read the postcard and locate the state and attach the postcard to the matching state. In this way, they are learning facts about the state and get practice in geography.”
To supplement the geography lessons, Eder sends items from around the United States that represent the different parts of the country – tumbleweed from Texas, cotton from Alabama, cactus seeds from Arizona, chopsticks from China Town in San Francisco, among other items.
Pictures from around the country also make learning more fun. Eder takes pictures of herself and her dog, Teddi, a standard poodle who travels with her in her Peterbilt, next to notable or unique monuments and other landmarks.
“Another fun thing Beth does is to take photos of herself and her truck next to ‘big’ things. This might include the world’s biggest coffeepot, or biggest statue of something,” Reiter said. “Beth sends letters to the kids ‘authored’ by Teddi. Teddi might be standing near a sajauro cactus, an Indian teepee, standing in a western ghost town, etc. Those photos are a favorite of the kids.”
Eder also reads to the students by recording herself reading a children’s book. She sends the tapes along with the book so the children can hear her personally reading to them. The students feel even closer to her when they hear her voice, Reiter said.
Eder supplements other aspects of the students’ curriculum in creative ways.
“She seems to have a sixth sense about what we are studying,” Reiter said. “During our science unit over plants, a box containing a packet of sunflower seeds for each child arrived. When we were studying the westward movement by the pioneers, she sent a postcard featuring a Conestoga wagon.”
Eder also teaches the students life lessons, Reiter added.
“She regularly encourages them to study hard and spend time reading. During hunting season here in Iowa, she somehow obtained blaze orange hunter safety vests for each student,” Reiter related.
Eder is an owner/operator leased to Marten Transport in Mondovi, Wis., and has been with the company since 1996. Eder, who became a volunteer with Trucker Buddy in 2001, makes her home in Park Falls, Wis.
Eder is among some 3,500 other professional drivers who share their time with elementary classes throughout the world. The only criteria to be a Trucker Buddy is to be a professional truck driver with a CDL who is willing to send a postcard each week to a class in grades two through eight. Drivers and teachers can find out more about the program by visiting www.truckerbuddy.org.
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