I sit on the OTF/OTIP Teacher Awards jury. I've done this for three years now, and it's always an eye opener. Our jury receives a shortlist of teachers who have been nominated by parents, students, colleagues. We read their nominations, we deliberate and debate and then we choose one in each category. I'd like to say we choose the best to receive the award but if they've made it to the short list, they're all worthy. Every time I do it, I'm amazed at the calibre of these teachers and just how far they'll go to help their students succeed.
In past years a small awards ceremony has been held at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse in downtown Toronto. Last night the awards were held in a big ballroom at an airport hotel, in conjuction with the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan two-day workshop. It was a good idea because hundreds of people were witness to the excellence recognized by the awards. This year's recipients are: Jodie Lang, St. Paul's Catholic School, Alliston (elementary); Monica Petrus, Forest Heights Collegiate Institute, Kitchener (secondary) and Talia Hunter, Roberta Bondar Public School, Ottawa (beginning teacher).
TVO sent cameras out to each of their classrooms last spring and captured them in action. Here are those vignettes. You'll see why each of these teachers inspire.
Jodie Lang from St. Paul's Catholic School in Alliston won in the Elementary Teacher category:
Monica Petrus from Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener won in the Secondary Teacher category:
Talia Hunter from Roberta Bondar Public School in Ottawa won in the Beginning Teacher category:
We've also compiled some of the videos from past winners and expert discussion on what makes great teachers.