MEd CS Student (Aloha Kumu Cohort)

Christine Wilcox

"... self-esteem is critical to students' ability to learn. Once they see they ARE able to meet expectations, it boosts their confidence."


Ewa Beach


Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Secondary Education

What drew you to the Aloha Kumu* program in Curriculum Studies?
The program came highly recommended by colleagues who have completed it. When I viewed the website, I really enjoyed the idea of “happy teachers create happy students.” With approximately 30 more credits, I will peak on my pay scale. Since I’ve already completed one master’s program while working full-time, I thought, “Why not go for it again?” It is truly THIS program [curriculum studies] that has gotten me here, and I am willing to pay for my education vs. receiving additional credits through the DOE’s professional development courses. Dr.Kimo Cashman worked at the school where I’m currently employed, so when I heard he is the director, it was another huge draw.

What do you do?
I have been an English teacher for 12 years and am currently the English Department Chair at Nānākuli High School.

What is your philosophy of teaching?
One of my many philosophies is that self-esteem is critical to students’ ability to learn. Once they see they ARE able to meet expectations, it boosts their confidence. When they realize they CAN do something, and I get to witness that positive shift and the beaming look on their faces, that is one of my thrills as an educator. I love watching them intellectually grow!

How do you relate to your students as a teacher?
I tell them at the beginning of the year that I will treat them like my own children – that is, nurturing, caring, and supportive – but that I am strict and will scold them when necessary. I also do my best not to show favoritism. If I do for one, I must do for all – equal treatment! I respect them as individuals and ALWAYS take into account external factors that are beyond their control (e.g. loss of family members to incarceration, drugs, homelessness, or death). Their circumstances don’t excuse all of their behaviors, but they certainly help me to be more understanding and to look for ways that I can help them get back on track.

*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 for more information.

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