Congratulations to Becki Jaworski, one of our two Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship recipients!
Becki grew up in a small village of approximately 700 people where the value of community was deeply rooted in her upbringing.
“We all took care of each other. If someone struggled, everyone pitched in and helped out. When my husband and I moved to Kelowna in 2008 I wanted to raise my family with the same values,” says Becki. “We have found our community of friends here that mirror this care and support. My two sons, my husband, and I are so thankful for the family, the Okanagan, land of the Syilx community, has provided us.”
As noted by her nominators, Becki “leads with heart.” Becki, along with Georgia Johnson and Jay Rees, approached Dr. Wendy Klassen to create one of the student-led committees —the “Give Back” Committee. The committee has organized a few events with their peers, including collecting and donating 200 boxes of cereal to the SD23 breakfast program. Becki took the lead in contacting SD23 and organizing the needs, the collection, and the drop-off for this event.
“I am very thankful to receive this award,” says Becki. “It has made me stop and think about my journey. It’s easy to get swept away in the experience, especially when having fun in the classroom with our students. I’m thankful that my love for teaching is seen as much as I feel it. To have my mentor acknowledge this motivates me to keep this passion strong in my teaching. I never want to forget what a great job this is and how fulfilling it can be.”
QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH SESSION WITH Becki
Why did you decide to enter the field of teaching?
I have always enjoyed working within the supportive care field, first as a Care Aid and then as a Certified Education Assistant. While working in SD23 I was in classrooms with these amazing teachers who inspired me right alongside their students. My final year as a CEA I worked with a teacher who told me I could do this. She opened my eyes to a journey that I had never even thought about. I guess that was my first lesson about being a teacher; you have this ability to inspire and create connections to passions. I cannot wait to be able to do this!
While obtaining my Bachelor of Arts, I worked with those experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders. I learned about trauma and mental health issues that trouble our community. This gave me a unique view of students in schools, their parents in shelters or on the street, and mothers in recovery. I am passionate to help the cycle of healing and hope to build an inclusive safe classroom where students can learn and grow within. This reinforced my decision to become a teacher.
What has been a favourite memory or experience so far in the program?
Dr. Sumer Seiki had us working the land. When you hear this, it sounds like a lot of work… and it is, don’t get me wrong, but it was worth it. We worked together as a group and did something very important. While restoring Okanagan Syilx plants I feel our class really grew together. Learning outside feels great. People sang, danced, and yes, there was a conga line. Restoration was also something that really taught me further of the Syilx understanding of land and of the decolonization of learning. We did a lot of work and the connections were what made it an experience I’ll never forget.
What advice do you have for prospective Bachelor of Education students?
The Okanagan School of Education becomes your new village. It is filled with teacher candidates (soon to be interns!), professors, teacher mentors, students, and faculty. Each one provides an amazing new connection that helps you grow. I would tell prospective Bachelor of Education students to appreciate each connection as things go by so fast. I would tell them to push themselves to do something they never thought they could do and be ready to love it!
I would also talk about the importance of seeing each student as individuals. I would encourage them to find out their student’s passions and what drives them. All students come from different places. It may be a hard minute, a hard day, a hard time at home, or a hard time speaking up, but we have the ability to support each student in becoming stronger and finding a passion for learning. This passion will take their students through the hardest and the best days. What better job could we ask for!?
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.