Diana Wang-Martin: Mentor inspires students to exceed their own

Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario

Transcription – Diana Wang-Martin-2018 Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence

[Black screen fades up to close-up of woman in interview setting, against a mottled background. Music playing.]

[Caption: Diana Wang-Martin, Glenforest Secondary School]

[Diana speaking in the interview setting alternates with voice over accompanied by still photos, as follows: Diana sitting with other students at a table speaking and gesturing; and Diana sitting on a desk in a classroom speaking with students looking at a laptop.]

Diana Wang-Martin: Students need to feel engaged to learn, and to feel engaged they need to feel respected and heard. And, they also need to feel that they are part of the classroom. The perfect space for students to learn would be a space surrounded by nature or, at the very least, surrounded by windows with natural lighting. If it’s indoors, it would have a living wall filled with plants that are planted by students. Also, ideally, every student would have access to a laptop and a tablet.

[Diana speaking in interview setting alternates with voice over and still photos, as follows: Diana sitting on a desk in a classroom speaking with students; and Diana sitting at a table, speaking with students over lunch.]

Diana Wang-Martin: Technology can be a tool that can help students learn. When used well, it can accelerate the learning process. It can also level the playing field of students with different abilities. And, at some point in the near future we will be a world that’s completely immersed in artificial intelligence. I feel that educators need to provide students with the opportunities to develop these technological skills, so that they don’t fall behind, and that they can access opportunities that require these technological skills.

[Diana speaking in interview setting, followed by cut to voice over accompanied by still photo of Diana standing at table chatting with student in Google sweatshirt, while other students cross room, and cut back to interview setting to conclude.]

Diana Wang-Martin: Students need to learn not just how to use the technology but how the technology is made. So, for example, not just to use the app but maybe to learn how to make the app, so learning how to code, for example, if really important. Instead of just learning how to use the robot, you learn how to build robots so that, in the future, when our world is filled with robots and artificial intelligence, that they have some control over these AIs.

[Cut to voice over with video of Diana standing beside a podium and speaking into a mic, addressing fellow recipients; still photo of Diana with two female students; Diana holding flowers on a stage with four students. Cut back to Diana speaking in interview setting to conclude.]

Diana Wang-Martin: My biggest advice for pre-service teachers is to be compassionate. Students will walk into your classroom with varying degrees of knowledge, skills and abilities. When you’re compassionate, the compassion will help you to be flexible and creative. Teaching is a profession like no others, and I feel it can be as awesome as you make it out to be. Ultimately, that would mean making a positive impact on our future generation.

[Fade to black.]

[Cut to white screen, with the Government of Canada FIP followed by the Canada Wordmark.]

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Diana Wang-Martin

Glenforest Secondary School
3575 Fieldgate Drive
Mississauga, ON L4X 2J6

School telephone: 905-625-7731
School website: http://schools.peelschools.org/sec/glenforest/Pages/default.aspx
Twitter: @dianawangmartin

Subjects and grades taught: Chemistry, Biology and Science, grades 9–12

By challenging her students to achieve their best and helping them build up their skills and abilities, Diana Wang-Martin helps her students grow into great leaders and communicators. Her efforts have taken students to new heights, ones they had never before envisioned themselves reaching.

Teaching approach

Diana's genuine and compassionate, yet humble, nature makes her approachable and greatly respected. She never hesitates to support students and instil in them values of honesty, integrity and respect, better preparing them to become future leaders in their communities and workplaces.

In the Classroom

  • Integrates technology into learning for more than the sake of it: with modelling and simulation software, students can perform experiments that might be impossible otherwise, make up missed lab time, get extra help and address ethical concerns (simulating dissection, for example)
  • Creates a stimulating learning environment by facilitating fun and creative labs: students create edible rock candies, bake chemistry muffins and make chemical ice creams; for the annual Mole Day, students create and set up chemistry-themed games in the school foyer for others to play
  • Models mentorship as quintessential to student life: helps students overwhelmed with project work; gives others the confidence to apply (and be accepted) to competitive science programs; brings still others to middle schools and parent nights to give presentations promoting the school

Outstanding achievements

  • Glenforest's STEM team, with Diana's guidance, organized 2015 conference featuring 50 speakers, 20 workshops and 1,800 delegates; organized second large STEM conference in 2017
  • Members of the STEM team launched the Nahani Way Lego Robotics club and organized a science Olympics, both for local elementary school students
  • Provided chance for girls to attend IT-focused workshop featuring speed mentoring and remote networking with girls in Nunavut; three students went on to place second and third in Cisco's International Internet of Things Grand Innovation Challenge, winning a combined total of $15,000 (USD)
  • As founding teacher of seven far-reaching school clubs, projects and community partnerships, her support of student advocacy and leadership has garnered local, provincial and national recognition

Rave reviews

"One of the greatest gifts a teacher can give a student is confidence, and Ms. Wang-Martin does so constantly, showing genuine appreciation for her students and never belittling their capabilities. She challenges students to break barriers in positive environments where there is always room to make mistakes and learn from them."