TORONTO — The cherry-red wall that jettisons out behind reception is an unexpected but cheerful welcome to Toronto Teachers’ Center. Simple yet striking, it’s a design element that concurrently conveys creativity, original thinking, professionalism and affability – a fitting descriptive metaphor of the qualities of the centre itself, its mission and the dedicated people behind it.
Welcome to Toronto’s candyland for teachers, where the goal is to provide tools and training to teachers and school administrators to promote the highest quality of Jewish education. “Ultimately,” stresses Chaya Messinger, director of the centre, “the purpose is to benefit the end users of the educational system: the students.”
Centrally located in Lawrence Plaza, the centre serves teachers of all grade levels, from preschool through Grade 12. While it is geared toward teachers from Orthodox Jewish day schools, it has been visited by staff from the wide range of Jewish schools in the city, and even by Jewish teachers employed by the Toronto District School Board.
“The resources [at the centre] give teachers the opportunity to think in ways they never did before,” says Tamara Grunberger, middle school supervisor of Netivot HaTorah Day School, and an avid user of the centre. “They allow teachers to be more creative, which enhances their ability to connect with students.”
Under the auspices of Torah Umesorah, the centre, modelled after two existing Torah Umesorah teachers’ centres in the United States, opened in January 2011. Funded partially by Torah Umesorah and primarily by private donors, the centre has no membership, lecture or usage fees. The centre does, however, charge at-cost prices for materials, such as printing or craft supplies, and a nominal fee for computer classes to encourage registrants to attend.
There’s more to the story in the print version of The CJN.
See the September 13, 2012 Toronto issue page 56-57.