Recipient: Janice Feldman
Number of years teaching: 22
School: The Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School
Subject: General Studies
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
Janice loves seeing delight in her students’ eyes. Their excitement is her motivation to teach with excellence. She loves getting through the “I can’t do it” moments with her students. Her desire is to help her students to think differently. Even in Senior Kindergarten, they begin to critically think about the world around them, bridging knowledge with their life experience. Janice teaches her students how to learn at home, at school and in society.
Janice believes that humour is a key to excellent teaching and is thrilled when her students begin to read her and look for joy in different moments.
Being with students in their early formative years reminds Janice that learning to read and write is important but it is more important to learn to be good people.
Janice’s nomination came from a parent. Marcia wrote:
Our son began Day School having had challenging experiences in public school and other activities. He is bright and active yet has great difficulty with all things involving attention. Janice did a wonderful job in keeping him inspired, loving school and yiddishkeit. In a meeting Janice explained the seriousness of her concerns about our son. Based solely on her suggestion we had him tested. While waiting for the results, Janice sent a daily notebook home describing his days. His struggles were heartbreaking. Yet her continual respect for him; her ability to see beyond his behaviour into his ‘neshama’ was a comfort.
We learned that our son has ADHD. Janice then found even more innovative, useful ways to motivate him. He will begin grade one with a solid love for school. He has a variety of friends and he is proud of achievements. If not for Janice’s attention, her willingness to take a risk and share sensitive concerns, and her continual respect for our son as one of the valuable students in the classroom, we may not have found help for him for years.
I truly believe that Janice Feldman saved our son and our family years of frustration, lost potential and possibly, severely diminished self-esteem.