Congratulations to the Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship recipient Laura Martin!
Question and Answer Session with Laura
What does receiving the award mean to you?
I was very excited to find out that I received the Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship. This is a very honorable award because I truly believe teaching begins with the heart. Learning is vulnerable and it can feel overwhelming for students at times. As a teacher, we are not just educating our students. We are role models. My goal is to provide a safe place for my students where they feel seen and heard. It’s taking the time out of the day to actively listen and meeting them where they are at in their learning journey.
What has your experience been like at the Okanagan School of Education?
The Okanagan School of Education changed the way I thought about education. OSE reveals the importance of students taking ownership in their learning. Their approach is phenomenal and they provided me with invaluable tools I will be using throughout my career. The best part of the program was the diversity of experiences. I was in elementary schools second month into the program for literacy and numeracy and I loved every minute of it. After all, learning begins with the students. My most memorable moment was during my recent practicum. I designed a unit plan for science on habitats. By the end of it, I think I learned more from the students than they learned from me. That being said, teaching is all about learning together by exploring different ways to approach a problem. At the end of the unit, students shared with each other what they created through a gallery walk. After the walk, we sat in a circle with the talking stick and shared our ideas; it is moments like these I will never forget.
Why did you decide to enter the field of education?
Being recognized and feeling like your story matters is why I went into teaching. I believe every student has something important to offer. When I was in elementary school, I struggled and I felt extremely discouraged. However, it was one teacher who truly inspired me and changed the way I thought about school: this was my grandma. She said, “Laura, choose any book and start reading.” It was the first time in my education where I felt like I had control. The rest was history and I now read extensively. Teachers come in different forms like my grandma but I chose this profession because I want to be that teacher who gives students a voice and agency in their learning. I want them to choose their own book, or project.
About the Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship
Scholarships totaling $2,000 have been endowed through a bequest by Madeline Betty Korfman to honour her love for teaching. Madeline Korfman taught school in southwestern Saskatchewan before relocating to the Okanagan in the mid-1990s.