Recipient: Tobie Franklin
Number of years teaching: 27
School: Toronto Heschel School
Subject: Tobie is the Learning Specialist at the school. She is responsible for the needs of the Special Education population, she oversees staff development and she is running a specialized program for kindergarten and grade 1 students
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
Tobie believes that teachers are learners and learners are teachers….”teachers all and learners all”. She continues to learn from her students and is always seeking to better understand how each child develops.
Tobie continues to work with the special education population because she believes that all children have strengths and time must be taken to find that strength. Often in special education, the focus tends to be on the weaknesses. Tobie searches for the strengths and once found, helps that student to excel in that area. Often this is not based on traditional learning and so it takes time and individualized programming to find student’s learning paths.
Tobie herself is a lifelong learner and loves to research education. She told us how fortunate she feels to have her school supporting her as she spends a week each year at Harvard Grad. School of Education studying “understanding”.
Tobie’s nomination came from one of her colleagues. Ellen wrote:
Tobie is the model teacher. She is the model child advocate that I aspire to be. Her life is committed to the children she serves. She treats children as holistic vessels with every potential to succeed. If a child is at risk, she has done the research, has the experience and she is willing to try everything to meet that child’s needs and help him or her succeed. For the past two years I have watched Tobie drag broken computers and other items into school from offices for some ‘mechanically intelligent’ children to repair!!!
Speaking purely from my own experiences, Tobie’s assessment methodology and tools have changed my teaching practice. I know that I am a more effective teacher, thanks to her. Tobie seems to be in her prime of professional development. She is the model lifelong learner. She is a teacher of excellence we all should aspire to be in a unique Jewish environment.