Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Braille Instruction

Every year, Braille Institute recognizes Teachers of the Visually Impaired for their hard work, dedication, and innovation. The Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Braille Instruction award is an opportunity for all Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) to be recognized on a national level for the amazing work they do with students who are blind or visually impaired.

Any Teacher of the Visually Impaired in the US or Canada can be nominated by peers, students, or others. The Teacher of the Year is selected by The Braille Challenge National Advisory Committee! For more information, contact Matthew Beckwith at mjbeckwith@brailleinstitute.org or (323) 663-1111, Ext. 1215

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Jonathan Hooper 2020 Teacher of the Year

Jonathon Hooper 2020 Teacher of the Year

Braille Institute has selected Jonathan Hooper as their winner of the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Braille Instruction Award. Hooper has worked in education for more than 10 years with most of his experience teaching students who are visually impaired.

Hooper was selected because of the life-changing work he has done with children who are visually impaired over the course of his career – but especially in the past year, 2020 presented new challenges in educating students with visual impairments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he rose to the occasion and helped set new standards and best practices for remote learning for this community.

“I am humbled to be chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year because I know there are so many dedicated and great educators in our field, many of whom I have the privilege of working with every day. This year, teachers of students with vision loss were challenged with providing access to and instruction in braille through distance learning. Through collaboration with colleagues and listening to students, TVIs were able to find solutions to the many barriers created by distance learning and maintain a high standard of education. I am grateful for all the members of my professional network who support my students and me. As the coordinator of the NYC Braille Challenge, I am proud of our students who were successful in the 2020 Braille Challenge nationals, and I am honored to be recognized alongside them this year,” said Hooper.

Read more about Jonathan…

Watch the videos below to get to know the TVIs who won the award recently and to learn more about the amazing work Teachers of the Visually Impaired do.

Teaching Students With Visual Impairments

In the United States, there is a shortage of certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired.

If you enjoy collaborating with others, have strong report writing skills, are organized, have good time management skills, are willing to learn new technologies, like variety in your day, would like to work one-on-one with students ages birth to 21 and would like to make a difference in a student’s life, this may be the career for you! As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), you will have the opportunity to improve the lives of students who are blind and visually impaired by providing specialized instruction and supportive services. The specialized instruction you provide to students will help prepare the student for each stage of life.

The TVI is a teacher first but has taken additional coursework to be specialized in visual impairments. To become a TVI, you must hold a teaching degree in general education or special education. Certification to be a TVI is an “Add-On” to your teaching license. Each state has different requirements but generally, you will be required to take approximately six courses specific to visual impairments. Coursework usually includes:

  • Foundations of educating students with visual impairments;
  • Braille reading and writing;
  • Structure and function (or anatomy and physiology) of the eye;
  • Educational implications of low vision;
  • Instructional strategies; and
  • Basic O&M skills.

Would you like to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired?

Here’s a list of universities who offer TVI and other Vision Professional Programs.