Martina Seo is a Home Economics teacher at West Vancouver Secondary School. She graduated from UBC Bachelor of Home Economics in 2000. Her passion is volunteering and helping those in need. For 3 years, she worked with homeless people in Australia, orphans and HIV patients in South Africa, senior citizens in Hawaii, and women prisoners and poverty-stricken children in Fiji. After volunteering with poor children who were unable to afford to attend school, she came back to Canada and completed her Bachelor of Education in Elementary Teacher Fine Arts and Media Education (FAME) in 2009. During her Education Program at UBC, she started an initiative for 2 years where she led up to 100 volunteers to create and distribute 1,500 sandwiches to the homeless twice a month in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With the growing international student population in Vancouver, she decided to complete her Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Coursework Certificate during a summer at UBC. On top of that, she finished her Master of Education Technology at UBC in 2017 because she believes by incorporating technology in the classroom can enhance the student educational experience. Most recently, she was chosen to be a racer on The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition with her brother Phil Seo. Her lifelong dream is to open and manage an orphanage in a developing country to help children have a better life through education, housing, and adoption.
Meeting Martina Seo
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education at UBC?
The most memorable experience from my time in the Faculty of Education at UBC is my practicum because I learned the most by being hands-on in the classroom. I was allowed to try out new ideas and when I failed at a lesson plan, I learned the most from my mistakes. One time, I had this solar system unit plan and I had 25 grade 3 students holding planets on sticks and 1 light bulb as a sun. It was spatial nightmare because they were all trying to get their planet to the sun. In hindsight, I should had them in groups and line up for their turn. My sponsor teacher Robin Kan was so supportive and allowed me to learn in my own way. I am very grateful for her patience and guidance with me.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
After graduating from the Faculty of Education, I TOC’d in North Vancouver School District for 4 years. I applied and got hired as a TOC in West Vancouver School District (WVSD). Within a year, they offered me a full-time Home Economics teaching position. I have been teaching at West Vancouver Secondary School for 6 years. I pursued my Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Coursework Certificate during the summer. After becoming full-time continuing in WVSD, I applied for and completed my UBC Master of Educational Technology (MET) Program.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
I find issues of inclusion when there isn’t enough support in the classroom for students with special needs, mental health issues, and learning disabilities.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Any advice for newly graduated folks?
The words of wisdom I have for current and new graduated folks would be you are going to make a huge and positive difference in the lives of your students. You may not know it when you are teaching, but one day, a student will contact you after 25 years and tell you how much you impacted their lives. I found my grade 7 teacher last month on Facebook and took her out for lunch. She saved my life. I was bullied throughout elementary school and she told my mom if I were to follow my bully to the same high school, I wouldn’t make it. So, my mom and my teacher worked together to send me to a better high school where I made my first two best friends. Mrs. Geraldine Karr is my angel! Currently, she is a Faculty Adviser at UBC TEO.
This year Martina and her brother, Phil, will be competing CTV Canada’s Amazing Race: Heroes Edition.
Read more about their race and how to cheer them on here!