Ian Andrews and Renate Doege Memorial International Teacher Education Module (ITEM) Award
The Ian Andrews and Renate Doege Memorial International Teacher Education Module (ITEM) Award recognizes two students (one from ITEM India and one from ITEM Mexico) who have demonstrated commitment to teaching and learning from people of different cultures.
Laura Mann (PDP ITEM India)
My name is Laura Mann, and I am part of the PDP ITEM India Module. I am honoured to be receiving this award! I was born in a Romanian village, to a single, impoverished Roma teenager. Two Canadian women met me when I was two days old, and after two months of incredible effort, brought me home to Canada. I must have always known three things – I would always be tied to my Roma roots, I was very lucky to become a Canadian, and because of my good fortune, I was destined to help others.
I have had opportunities for travel across North America, Europe and Africa. Travel is a huge passion of mine, and so the ITEM Module made perfect sense for me. When I saw that India was an option for ITEM, I knew instantly that was the module I wanted to be in. My Romani roots originated in Northern India. The experience of being in India has been absolutely amazing, filled with learning opportunities, time to reflect, and of course, feelings of gratitude.
I was raised by a nurse and a Principal with the values of kindness and compassion, so I became an advocate for human rights, social justice and inclusion, and I celebrate diversity. I’ve spent a lot of my time with children: in a school in a Masai village in Kenya; at a Liberian orphanage for children with leprosy; at a school for special needs children in Cuba; in two of my own former elementary classrooms, and most recently have spent a year volunteering locally with children (aged 4 – 15) of African decent through the Multicultural Family Centre. In every case, the children have captured my heart. Their smiles, capacity for joy despite their struggles, their different ways of learning – all amaze me. Some struggle like I did at some points in my life, and others are lighting the world on fire in the best way possible. Overcoming my own obstacles pushed me to help others find their own resilience and that inner spark of hope
Helping children has been life changing for me. I always wanted to become a teacher, and now that I am, I could not be happier.
Leonie Kuif (PDP ITEM Mexico)
I had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria for a month-long work experience position. While in Nigeria, I visited a number of local schools, and met teachers and students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
This opportunity opened my eyes to a world of education vastly different from my own Canadian experience. I understood then that education has the power to transcend socioeconomic and cultural barriers, and my own passion for teaching and learning grew stronger thereafter.
When I returned to Canada, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in education, and that’s when I applied to SFU’s ITEM Mexico program. I am thrilled to be part of a program that values the unique perspectives gained by studying and teaching abroad.
The generous Ian Andrew and Renate Doege Bursary Award is empowering me to be able to develop valuable teaching skills and life skills that I will be able to share with my future Canadian students. I would like to thank the donors of this bursary for their generosity; this bursary will allow me more time and energy to dedicate towards my studies as a student and the development of my pedagogy as a teacher.