Pieter Toth: Changing the world one young mind at a time
Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Dundas Valley Secondary School
310 Governor's Road
Dundas, ON L9H 5P8
School telephone: 905-628-2203
School website: www.hwdsb.on.ca/dundasvalley
Subjects and grades taught: Business and Social Justice, grades 9–12
Pieter Toth connects student thinking to curriculum expectations. He also find ways to link what happens in the classroom to the school's vision of building an empathetic culture of respect and learning through the lens of human rights and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Pieter is a natural at building strong, authentic relationships based on trust and honesty. He takes the time to connect with his students every day, to make them feel valued, encourage them to take risks and go deeper with their thinking and learning in order to make the world a better place for everyone.
In the Classroom
- Challenges students to work outside their comfort zone: for each project, students present their work differently (with a song or by coaching experts to present for them); Pieter "fires" people from groups and moves them to another, so students learn to adapt to project team change
- Provides opportunities for students to walk in the shoes of others: a "sleep out" saw students on the streets for a day, with no technology, food or water; the generosity they experienced inspired them so much that they later went out on their own to give food and drink to the homeless
- Removes social status in his classes, training students to be accepting of and positive about their peers so they can be the same for themselves
- Fosters community contacts and networking opportunities so students understand how to work with others to make an impact
- Students organize and run community and charitable events that attract thousands of people
- Mentored student to become student trustee with the school board and join the Ontario Student Trustee Association to make her voice heard in discussions about education at the provincial level
- Instrumental in developing provincial education ministry network for knowledge building and innovation for secondary teachers, with student presentations featuring prominently
"Pieter causes a chain reaction of pure, almost unbelievable learning experiences in every one of his classes, and because of his influence on so many young minds, he is one of the minds that will change this world into what it deserves to be."
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