Recipient: Jill Fruitman
Number of years teaching: She won’t admit to more than 21!! Always with the special needs
School: Zareinu Educational Centre
Subject: Preschool Lifeskills Teacher
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
Jill says that “it is a lot of fun to go to work.” She works with a wonderful staff, who as a team, have created a warm and secure environment where the special needs population she teaches feel at home. Jill believes that each and every child has a personality and as a teacher she focuses on finding that personality and stimulating and growing it. She will do whatever it takes to evoke something from a child, be that a crazy costume, a silly song, a mini performance or a connection that communicates safety and love for the student. Jill also loves to work alongside the parents of her special needs students, knowing that some parents haven’t yet been able to find their child’s personality because they are so overwhelmed with the problems and extra focus a disability brings into a family. Supporting both the student and the parent is important to her. Jill says “I really do value and enjoy my students.”
Baylee, a parent of a special needs student in Jill’s class wrote this:
My son who has cerebral palsy and is non verbal was fortunate to have Jill as his teacher when he was five years old till he was eight years old. He is now 16 and he has had many great teachers, but none like Jill. Jill showed me that my son had a personality, she helped to bring it out and whenever she was around it was very evident how much my son adored her.
There was always humour in what Jill did. She taught me how to laugh and to enjoy my son. This helped so much when dealing with special needs and their world which can be quite intense a lot of the time.
One very important fact about Jill is that she took the time to write in a communication book. She would write and tell you an individualized account of the day. She would always add a joke or something about your child that would make you chuckle. This was very precious to me since my son couldn’t talk and this was how I found out about his day. I don’t know where she found the time to write to all her parents everyday, but she did and I use to look forward to reading her notes everyday.