Deanne Kehau Pong
MEd CS Student (Aloha Kumu Cohort)
“As a third year teacher, the support my cohort provides through real life experiences and sharing ideas in a safe, intellectual space is uplifting.”
- MEd, Curriculum Studies: National Board Certification Teacher Leader
- MEd, Curriculum Studies: P4C Hawaii Leadership
What degree(s) do you currently hold?
I have a BEd in Elementary Education from the COE and am earning my MEd in Curriculum Studies, National Board Certification Teacher Leader: p4c Hawai‘i in the Aloha Kumu Cohort.
Where do you work?
I work at Iroquois Point Elementary School in Ewa Beach.
How did you become interested in the field of education? The Aloha Kumu Program?
I learned to love education because of the great teachers I had at Kamehameha Schools where I attended elementary through high school. Most memorable was my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Fischer, who taught me to believe in myself and shared her love of learning with everyone she taught. Thank you Mrs. Fischer for inspiring me to follow my dreams!!
I was first introduced to the Aloha Kumu Program by Dr. Jennifer Padua, my mentor and cohort coordinator at the College of Education, while I was an undergraduate at UH Mānoa. As my mentor, she would frequently reach out to my colleagues and I with opportunities like this. What interested me in the Aloha Kumu Program was the focus on p4c or Philosophy for Children. After learning more about p4c, I was captivated by the idea of engaging children in collaborative conversations and critical thinking. The rest is history as they say, and I am grateful to have this opportunity to learn and grow alongside great educators!
What will your next school year look like amid COVID-19? How are you adapting?
The next school year will be challenging for sure. Due to the pandemic our students will have many different experiences with learning in a hybrid and online setting. With the COVID-19 crisis, I have seen schools, educators, students, and families adapt in ways they’ve never had to before. I believe that this has made us all feel vulnerable and almost afraid to change. As for myself, I have learned that vulnerability breeds courage. Although I am currently on leave, I have seen my colleagues adapt to the online learning platform in creative ways. It’s so inspiring to see how innovative teachers have become!
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has had a huge impact on my life and encouraged me to be a better educator and p4c facilitator. On this journey in the Aloha Kumu cohort, I have had the privilege of forging relationships with amazing people. At the heart of the COE are the people that make it thrive, from the instructors to the professors and mentors I have met. I am grateful to have this opportunity to deepen my beliefs and keep me grounded in the reasons I went into teaching.
As a third year teacher, the support my cohort provides through real life experiences and sharing ideas in a safe, intellectual space is uplifting. We share a common goal to plant the seeds of p4c and create a safe place for our students to learn in a collaborative way. As the COE vision states, “A sense of purpose, A sense of place…”, I have truly found my purpose and my place here in the COE Aloha Kumu program.
What are your future visions and goals?
My future vision is to create a safe place for my students to share ideas without fear and to dare to dream! If all that I learn today will help at least one child, then it will all be worth it. My goal is to continuously evolve and grow as an educator.
Anything else you would like to include?
I am so grateful to have the unconditional love and support of my husband, kids, and grandchildren. I would also like to thank my cohort classmates and professors for making this journey in the Aloha Kumu program so special!
*Deanne Kehau Pong is a recipient of the Cornelia F. and Roy Sakamoto Scholarship. Read the UH Foundation story here.