BEd, Dual Elementary and Special Education; MEd, Curriculum Studies
*Nahulu is featured in the James & Abigail Campbell Family Foundation 2016 Annual Report (pp. 9–10) as a recipient of their Scholarship in Teacher Education. The following profile was originally published in 2014.
What drew you to the MEd in Curriculum Studies Aloha Kumu program?
What caught me was the name “Aloha Kumu” which was later explained as “love or care for your kumu” since they’re the ones who are educating our children. What got me to look further into this program was when I found out it would work around our job schedule and that it served teachers in the Wai’anae, Nānākuli, Kapolei, and Waipahu areas. Then, I found out that Dr. Cashman (a former teacher from Nānākuli High) was the cohort supervisor. So, it was all blessings.
What is your current position and how long have you been there?
I've been a Special Education Teacher for about 13 years. I teach 7th and 8th grade at Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao Public Charter School.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
My philosophy as an educator is building relationships, or what Etienne Wenger calls “communities of practice” where educators, admin, our surrounding communities, students and their families can effectively communicate, collaborate, support, and universally function towards a common goal (educating our keiki).
Describe your road to becoming an educator.
I thought I wanted to become a mechanic until one summer during high school when I volunteered with my mother, who is an education assistant (EA), in a special education classroom. I spent six weeks working with a paraplegic student named Frankly. I grew attached to Frankly and became even more sentimental when I found out that he was once a developmentally healthy baby until a babysitter shook him. From then on, I just enjoyed working with students and decided to follow my mother's footsteps in educating children.
How has the department & faculty/staff helped you on your road to becoming an educator?
First of all, I am very thankful for getting accepted into the program (Mahalo Ke Akua). Currently in my first semester with this cohort, I really enjoy the topics, assignments, and where the courses are headed. It’s very interesting to do research on an issue that’s affecting our local school(s) and to have guidance towards a viable topic of research. It is a lot of reading and writing intensive, the most I’ve done ever (lol), but the staff and student chemistry is very comfortable and supportive.
What are your future plans?
My future plans would be to become a vice principal and eventually a principal at a school in the Nānākuli Community.
*The Aloha Kumu Cohort is made up of teachers in Nānākuli, Waiʻanae, Kapolei, Waipahu, and Honolulu schools. The program is based on a Hawaiian perspective of health, well-being, relationships, and education. The focus is on community-based education and National Board Certification. Please contact Dr. Kimo Cashman at email@example.com for more information.