Kathryn Martin is retiring at the end of this school year as a Kindergarten teacher at Tolman Elementary. She has taught there for 30 years.
She received her elementary education degree from Utah State University in 1978. Taught for a few years in Northern Utah, moved to Kansas for her husband’s education, moved back to Utah and taught a preschool in her home for two years, she then got her job at Tolman in 1987. A tree, which will be known as the KinderMartin tree, was planted in honor of her. Her legacy and love of teaching will never be forgotten.
Thoughts from Kathryn Martin:
Teaching is such a part of me, almost like breathing—it’s just something I do. In college, I loved being an Elementary Ed major, because any class I took applied in some way. Kindergarten has been such a perfect fit for me. As soon as these new kindergartners get through the initial shock of not having mom as a permanent appendage, 99 percent of the time they are happy to be in school. They see themselves as artists, writers, readers, scientists, mathematicians. They come seeking the tools needed to unlock these built-in abilities and I have had the privilege of introducing them to these tools, how to begin using these tools and encouraging them to use them every day—for the rest of their lives. As important as teaching is, I have found that true strength and wisdom comes from learning. I have learned so much over these past thirty years. Some things I learned quickly—you do not tell a group of 5-year-olds to make a circle, so you can play a game. No, you go through a 20-step process of how to make a circle, stay in a circle, become one with the circle and then try and come up with another way to play the game that doesn’t involve the word circle. I remember giving an assessment to a new kindergartner and asked her to count as high as she could for me. After giving me a look that let me know she doubted my sanity, she slowly raised her arm as she began counting, stretching it more and more towards the ceiling as she counted, after stretching as far as she could, she finally stopped and said, “I can’t count any higher”. Every day I learn something from these children. Patience, overcoming fears, doing your best, trying, trying again, empathy, spontaneous kindness and heartfelt love expressed in the giving of a hand-drawn picture. I love being a teacher, and I love learning from my students. Even though I am retiring from teaching, according to the Utah Retirement System, in my heart and in my mind, I will always be a teacher and I will always be a learner.
Throughout these past 30 years here at Tolman, my family has been there for me—my wonderful husband, John, my amazing five children—Jen, Taunya, Sharon, Thomas, and Kevin, all Tolman Tiger alum. They have been my support team, my guinea pigs, my cheerleaders, my heart. They have been patient, kind, helpful, and understanding. I would not be who I am without them. They have been my most important classroom. I have loved watching this classroom grow with my children’s spouses—Scott, Ian, Brian, and Kelsie, my nine beautiful grandchildren—Kate, Karley, Grant, Gwen, Rulon, Emily, Savanna, Ammon and Lily. This is my joy! My cup runneth over! How lucky am I? -Kathryn Martin 2018