Toronto Maple Leafs January 2022 Teacher of the Month
Tell us about yourself!
I’ve been teaching for over 24 years, from gr 2 all the way to Grade 8 for Summer School. My career started in the TDSB, but I moved to the YRDSB in 2003. I’m currently teaching gr 6 at (fittingly) Maple Leaf Public School in Newmarket. It can be a challenging environment at times, but I have an amazing class and a great staff to work with. Early on in my teen years I had considered becoming a teacher, but my final decision to become one goes back to a very influential guidance counsellor in high school who recommended a new program at the University of Windsor, “Drama in Education”. I think my decision to become a teacher was validated by being one of the few occupations in the world that you can still maintain the areas of the Arts that you love (visual arts, drama, etc) while working, and you can still have fun at work and not take yourself too seriously. The ability to work with kids over the years has been energizing and keeps me optimistic about the future.
Who is your favorite NHL® player and why?
Currently, I’m a big Jason Spezza fan. I absolutely love his heart, passion, and team play, as well as his ability to continue being an impact player in the league. He’s immensely talented, and a true heart and soul kind of player. I think the Leafs truly benefit from those type of players. Historically, I’ve always been a huge fan of Brad Marsh and Borje Salming; both integral parts of the teams they played on for very different reasons.
What is your favorite part of the Future Goals™program? How do you see STEM in the game of hockey?
I love the Future Goals program because it brings together some of the big interests in kids lives – sports and technology. Anytime you can produce resources that lock into student passions like the Raptors and the Leafs, engagement will be strong. Basketball and hockey are often thought of as just a game, but it’s fascinating to see the science, tech, and mathematics behind them. The other curricular areas are really engaging as well; students love the health and mental health modules. The program is extremely engaging for students and a lot of fun. The math areas have also been great; Financial Literacy was added to our curriculum a few years back and Future Goals instantly had a great module to help kids learn about budgeting, saving, interest, etc.
If you played hockey, what position would you play and why?
In addition to coaching, I also play once a week all year round. I play centre; it’s an important position because you have to work hard and do your best to help both the offence and the defence. I’ve been playing with the same pick up group for over 20 years. They’re a great bunch of guys. I’ve also been selected as a member of the Movember Mavericks for my donations and support of the Movember initiatives. Our game vs the Leafs alumni has been postponed multiple times, but we’re hoping it actually happens this spring.