Congratulations to Adam Lauzé, one of our two Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship recipients!
Here is what his nominator had to say:
“Adam showed a passion for teaching and a genuine care for his students when his mentor had to go on leave and Adam continued with the same classes to support them while the mentor was away. He shows so much enthusiasm and energy. He is dynamic and shows a definite love of teaching.”
“Being recognized with this award means a great deal to me because it means my mentors in this faculty recognized my love for teaching despite all obstacles,” says Adam. “I think it is easy for me to focus on the challenges or opportunities I have experienced during difficult periods of my education. It isn’t natural for me to focus on what went well or how I was successful. This award encourages me to reflect back upon my practicum with a different lens. Instead of focusing on the difficulties or shortcomings I experienced, I now hope that I’ve demonstrated to my students that any adversity simply brings about an opportunity to prove to oneself that you can rise above a challenge without sacrificing your passion for the task at hand.”
Adam had long been drawn to the idea of teaching as a career, initially because of time spent in management positions for the hospitality industry.
“During that time I often had the opportunity to provide young people with their first full-time job,” says Adam. “I would have to teach them new skills, being accountable to others, how to set smart self-development goals and taking pride in one’s work. I felt that this translated to teaching in many ways.”
But it wasn’t until returning from India and spending some time reflecting that he decided to pursue education as a career. Adam and his partner were living in India while working with an education-focused non-profit organization, Ashraya Initiative for Children. The organization’s main objective was to remove barriers for accessing education, like arranging for transportation, cleaning uniforms or practicing English.
Adam and his partner were responsible for putting together promotional packages, such as taking photos or video of the organization’s activities or fundraising initiatives.
“When I reflect back on this time, it was a very humbling pedagogical experience. For example, we interviewed this one student, where his father had broken his back, and we were trying to put together a package to send out to potential donors to take care of his medical needs. We went to the student’s home, and we found out that the student and father didn’t speak the same language. The student spoke about five languages, including English, but he and his father didn’t share a language. So the father would speak to a translator, the translator would then speak to the son and then the son would tell us what was said. I had never considered that that could have been a barrier for someone – not being able to ask for help with my homework because my parents don’t speak the same language.”
After returning to the Okanagan, Adam decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English. He began taking courses at Okanagan College and transitioned to UBC Okanagan after two years. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at UBCO, he began to connect with the Okanagan School of Education in various ways – including volunteering with the B.A.R.K. program and assisting with a few research projects and manuscripts.
“I think one of the benefits of pursuing my Bachelor of Arts with the knowledge that it was in the service of becoming an educator led me to interpret my education differently, with my professors, advisors and volunteer programs,” says Adam. “In all of those interactions, I saw through the lens of a future educator. If I had a professor I really liked, I reflected on what they were doing that I enjoyed. On the rare occasion when I had a professor that I didn’t enjoy, I would think how are they teaching that I would do differently. I would question why do I look forward to this class and not others?”
With the Bachelor of Education program nearing its completion (about 22 weeks left!), Adam shares what he is most excited for in his future teaching practice:
“What I am most excited for in this profession is helping young people realize their worth — both intellectually and regarding their individual passions. My students will be taught in an environment that encourages self-expression and exploration that will hopefully spur on a love for learning that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Many programs and students have been affected by the pandemic and transition to online, and while Adam admits this is not quite what he had envisioned for his Bachelor of Education, he said he has still made the most of his experience.
“The faculty has continually strived to communicate a passion for pedagogy and a love of teaching that encourages my peers and I to pursue excellence in education, despite all obstacles. For all of their hard work and dedication, I celebrate the Okanagan School of Education faculty, and hope that my efforts will continue to embody the pedagogical aspirations of the program.”
For prospective students interested in pursuing their Bachelor of Education, Adam suggests making the decision based on your willingness and desire to dedicate yourself entirely to your students.
“Spend time volunteering for or working with young people and take it further by challenging yourself to create the best possible environment for them to thrive,” says Adam. “I believe this program is most valuable and rewarding to those individuals who put student well-being and success above all else, and if you’re ready and willing to do that, you’ll find like-minded educators right here in this program!”
About the Scholarship
This scholarship has 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-1900s. This scholarship is awarded to two teacher candidates who significantly demonstrate a “love for teaching” based on the recommendation of Okanagan School of Education faculty.