2016 Winning Teachers

September 28, 2016

OTIP (Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan) and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) have recognized three outstanding Ontario teachers with the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence.

On Tuesday, September 26, the following educators received the OTIP Teaching Award.

Lee Martin

Central Public School, Grimsby

Lee Martin, a French Immersion teacher at Central Public School, received the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in the beginning teacher category.

A spaceman bounds into the grade three classroom; the students shriek with delight and thus commences the lesson. That spaceman is Lee Martin.

Lee’s passion in making learning fun and interesting brings his lessons alive for his students. The variety of characters he brings to the classroom engage the students so much that they forget that they are learning.

Whether it be robotics, coding, green screening, blended learning or any other type of technology, Lee integrates it into his class and the school culture.

Lee co-developed the “Choose Kind” initiative to create a more inclusive school community for all students to feel safe, valued and empowered. This expanded to support other communities in need. Other projects include a school-wide Digital Learning Day to support teacher learning of digital tools; an annual Franco-Ontarian Day for primary students to promote French culture and the COMPUTERS4CHANGE crowdfunding initiative which seeks to ensure access for all students to technology.

Lee has shared his techniques at conferences, workshops and in print publications. As well, he is currently doing research on how various edtech tools can improve spatial reasoning in students.

Lee’s nominator states, “From the manner in which he interacts with all students in his school to the extra effort he puts forth daily, he truly is incredible. When you ask him what drives him to work so hard every day, he will respond that he just wants them to find the same love of learning that he has.”

Hilary Masemann

Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, Toronto

Hilary received the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in the secondary teacher category.

In eight short years, Hilary has proven to be the teacher for ‘all seasons.’ Her innovative and creative approaches have spurred not only her students’ interest in art but also fostered their intellectual and personal growth.

Hilary has taken the art curriculum at Marc Garneau beyond the normal and traditional. Recognizing that the majority of her students are Muslim, she immediately introduced Islamic art into the curriculum. The introduction of printmaking, an art cultural literacy course, and relevant tools such as a printing press and kiln has not only increased student engagement and appreciation of art but also an appreciation of their own cultural heritage.

Hilary is always finding new learning techniques and resources to enrich her students’ experience. In addition to such activities as visits by local artists and to art galleries, she takes her students to display their work in shows at OCAD and Delisle Youth Centre. Also, Hilary initiated a yearly Arts Night, where students present their work to the larger community and are inspired by other students’ creativity.

During the school day and after hours, Hilary actively promotes inclusion and fosters diversity in the school. Students who feel marginalized always feel welcome in Hilary’s classroom. She has a lunch-time Open Studio for students to work, receive extra help, and engage in positive social interaction with their peers.

As Hilary’s colleague states, “I would describe my colleague and friend as an inspiring, dedicated, empathetic, intelligent, unique and flexible teacher/artist who is most deserving of your recognition.”

Thomas Doherty

St. John School, Red Lake

“Thomas Doherty has a passion for his people and the vision to bring forth greatness through his actions.” Thomas received the OTIP Teaching Award in the elementary teacher category.

An Ojibwe teacher, Thomas has successfully adapted his teaching to meet the needs of his students in the modern world as well as in the traditional Ojibwe world. He has always involved his students in projects that have them ‘thinking outside the box.’ Thomas’ use of integrated technology with his students gave rise to their participation in the Ontario Teachers’ Federation ‘Book of Life’ project. Many student books were highlighted on local television and shared throughout the Board.

Thomas works with his students to build relationships and to communicate effectively with each other and the outside world. Liaisons with community organizations familiarize students with their community and the importance of community involvement. For example, the Imagineaction funded “Daisies for Diabetes” project, in cooperation with the Northwest Health Unit, raised student awareness of diabetes and its effects on First Nation peoples.

Thomas feels strongly that his students should learn and appreciate their Ojibwan heritage. To this end, his students experience such cultural activities as feasts and powwows. By inviting Elders to share their knowledge in his classes, his students come to appreciate their customs and traditions and continue to participate in the ‘Circle of Life.’ Hands-on field trips and nature hikes to learn about biodiversity and winter survival: all are examples of Thomas’ linking students to their heritage.

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