In 2018, Martika was awarded the Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarship. The scholarship is named in honour of Dr Pearl Duncan, an Aboriginal teacher who dedicated her life to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in education.
“My tribal groups are Bigambul and Djaku-nde, both in the south-west Queensland region, so studying Education and inspiring other Indigenous students to become teachers is really important to me,” Martika says.
“The money from the scholarship was really helpful with my studies and it also guarantees you a permanent teaching position when you graduate,” Martika says. “It helped me with textbooks and when I needed to go out of town for placement. One of the first things I did when I received the first payment was go out and buy myself a new laptop for my studies, which was really helpful.”
Now in the final semester of her degree, Martika says it has been great to experience teaching placement in many different schools throughout North Queensland.
“I went to Gilroy Santa Maria College in Ingham for my third-year placement, and then to Thuringowa State High School for my fourth year, which involved two sets of five-week placements. Going from a smaller school in Ingham to a much larger school in Townsville was quite different,” she says.
“It was both challenging and rewarding. Being an Aboriginal person myself, I definitely wanted to be able to work with Indigenous kids. I was able to put a lot of the skills from my degree into practice and my time at Thuringowa State High School turned out to be the best placement I’ve ever done,” she says.
In choosing Health and Physical Education (HPE) and Geography as her teaching areas, Martika says she enjoys being outside and engaging students in hands-on learning experiences. “I’ve always loved sport and have done quite well at it. I just wanted to share that knowledge, experience and passion for different sports with students all through high school.”
“I think that’s why I chose secondary. I feel I’m better able to connect with the students and I want to be part of the process of just helping students transition out of high school and prepare them for the world,” Martika says.