2018 Winning Teachers

September 25, 2018

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 25, the following educators received the OTIP Teaching Award.

2017 Winning Teachers

September 26, 2017

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:

Jeff White

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Oakville

Jeff White, a teacher at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Oakville, received the OTIP Teaching Award in the Beginning Teacher Category at the OTIP awards ceremony last night.

Jeff, after 30 years in the restaurant business, went into teaching to share his knowledge with young people. And this he has done in the hospitality program – with an energy and enthusiasm which is rewarded by the success of his students.

Jeff brings the classroom alive not only through his teaching from experience but more so, through his acceptance of students as they are and encouraging them to have confidence in their abilities. Students, who may feel marginalized, leave his courses with a more positive self-image. As one student stated about Jeff, “you have taught me to be respectful and to put my heart into everything that I do but most importantly, you have taught me that it is okay to act like yourself in front of others instead of putting on a mask.”

Jeff’s students experience the real world of working in and running a restaurant. As the lead teacher in culinary arts, he assembled a team of five local restauranteurs which provides chefs, managers and others to act as mentors to his students. To further the real-life work experience, his students opened a restaurant in the school which serves staff and students alike. He is currently working on a project with an Indigenous chef to create native Canadian dishes which will be served in the student restaurant to integrate Indigenous Studies into the classroom in a meaningful way.

To improve and expand his program, he regularly contacts other hospitality teachers as well as seeks feedback from students and parents.

In short, Jeff provides a safe and practical learning environment where students graduate with employable skills. To date, he has placed over 35 students in jobs in the community.

Jeff is typical of the new, inspired teachers in Ontario’s classrooms.

Lauren Hortie

Oasis Alternative School/Oasis Skateboard Factory

Lauren Hortie, a teacher at Oasis Alternative Secondary School in Toronto, was honoured with the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence in the Secondary Teacher Category at a ceremony in Toronto yesterday.

Lauren co-designed a program to teach compulsory subjects in an authentic project-based way to at-risk students. Thus was born the Skateboard Factory. Lauren draws upon students’ strengths and talents to create skateboards which they then offer for sale.

Lauren has created a safe and trusting classroom community. Lauren includes current trends such as Indigenous Studies, popular culture and community contact to create a program which is inclusive and relevant to the students’ lives. Inclusivity helps under-represented students see themselves reflected in the curriculum.

Lauren’s personal work habits, her commitment and passion are reflected in the improvement in students’ work and life habits. The success of the student projects is evident in skateboard sales, participation in local art shows and even a New York art show and the popular workshops students host for other young people.

Perhaps, the following quote from a student sums up Lauren’s success, “before I came to OSFI, I had been out of school for two years, had no high school credits and, with anxiety from past school experiences, had lost my motivation and essentially given up. Her [Lauren’s] work has given me the opportunity to break free from my anxiety towards school to get my high school diploma and create a path towards success.”

My-Linh Hang-Coleman

Eastview Public School, Scarborough

My-Linh Hang-Coleman, who taught at Eastview Public School in Toronto last year, received the OTIP Teaching Award in the Elementary Teacher Category at the OTIP awards ceremony last night.

My-Linh is the role model of caring and sharing in teaching. My-Linh, who has taught in several elementary grades, prepares her students to be future engaged citizens. Her students not only achieve academic success, but also learn to be accountable, to respect others and to care about the world around them.

My-Linh, in the classroom, tries to put herself in the “shoes of the children.” She gears her teaching to what might inspire them. She is constantly trying new techniques such as using song lyrics to which students can relate, new and different field trips, and cooking lessons. Daily communications with parents and monthly slideshows not only “bring the parent into the classroom,” but allow the student to share his/her culture and identity. 

She infuses character education into her lessons and encourages students to learn about and understand others through visits to the classroom from such groups as veterans, elders and farmers.

Beyond the classroom, My-Linh is active in several extra-curricular clubs and events to inspire students to be leaders and positive change-makers. She promotes community spirit through such activities as the production of the film, “The Road Less Travelled” which shares the richness of the culture of the Eastview Indigenous community. She developed the first elementary “WE schools” curriculum and K-12 social justice program for schools. She shares her experience and learning with school colleagues as well as being a presenter at conferences and teaching AQ courses.

This year, My-Linh is on secondment to work on an Inuktitut curriculum development project with Inhabit Media & the Nunavut government.

©2017 TeachingAwards.ca