MEd CS Student (Aloha Kumu Cohort)

Paige Banninger

“I always push my students to find the positives, even when it may be difficult. This is a time of growth and a time for new learning.”


Kailua, HI


Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Curriculum Studies: P4C Hawaii Leadership
  • MEd, Curriculum Studies: National Board Certification Teacher Leader

Where do you work?
I work at Ka‘elepulu School in Kailua where I have been teaching for going on seven years.

How did you become interested in the field of education? The Aloha Kumu Program?
Originally, I was going to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology. In my first year, one of my classes was about child psychology, and that’s when I became fascinated with how children grow, think, and learn. It was at that moment I decided to switch my major to education.

The Aloha Kumu program was introduced to me by Dr. Chad Miller, philosopher in residence at my workplace. Dr. Miller has been working with Ka‘elepulu in the implementation of the P4C Hawai‘i pedagogy. When he told me he was starting a program that highlights P4C, I was in!

What does your school year look like amid COVID-19? How are you adapting?
COVID-19 has proven to be a challenge in terms of teaching, but we are working through it. Through routine, patience, and positivity, my students and I have overcome many obstacles. There is the understanding that we are all struggling in our own way, but will get through those struggles together and learn from them. We like to keep a growth mindset. I always push my students to find the positives, even when it may be difficult. This is a time of growth and a time for new learning.

In terms of new learning, we’ve been using a lot of technology. My students are learning to do things they’ve never done before. They’re learning to split their screen so they can see two things at once.They’re learning how to use Google Docs, Google Slides, Padlet, and Jamboard to collaborate with one another. They’re learning how to have an inquiry through Google Meets instead of in a circle within our classroom. They’re learning how to check and send emails regularly! Aside from technology, they’re learning how to do school from home. They’re learning how to hold themselves accountable. They’re learning new hobbies and skills, like skateboarding and sewing! They’re learning about current events and the way various people respond to challenging situations. They’re learning to question the things happening around them. They’re learning how to be resilient. We all are!

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
This COE program has opened some big doors for me! First, it has introduced me to some really amazing people, colleagues and professors. I am so inspired by their work. I really enjoy working with like-minded individuals, in a small cohort, who have such strong passion for education, for putting students first and for being lifelong learners. I learn a lot from my colleagues and believe some great connections are being made. Second, it has allowed me the opportunity to continue being a lifelong learner. I’ve been wanting to go back to school for some time, so when the opportunity was presented to me, I knew I had to take it. I’m learning so much about education through various perspectives we explore. These perspectives cause me to rethink my own beliefs and grow new ones. Third, the program makes me question big ideas, challenges my thinking, has heightened my sense of awareness of others and myself, and is pushing me to “find the noise” in the world of education. We cannot remain status quo; we need to change with the times. Lastly, it validates the importance and power of the P4C Hawai‘i pedagogy. I have been implementing P4C for six years, and this program is eye opening in the sense that it has so much power in a classroom. It’s a pedagogy of connection, awareness, questioning, problem-solving, thinking, listening, disruption, challenge, vulnerability, and safety. It makes me proud to be part of it and confirms my belief that my students are benefitting from what I am doing.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
One teacher in particular stands out, and her name was Mrs. Breen. She was my second and third grade teacher (since she looped grade levels). She was caring, funny, creative, and personable. I remember helping clean out one of the classroom closets one day when together we found a glass plaque with a quote inscribed in it. I thought it was pretty, and she asked if I would like to keep it. As a third grader, of course I said yes, especially since it came from my teacher! I’m pretty sure I still have it to this day. To be honest, I don’t remember much about the academics and what I was learning back in second and third grade, but I do remember the warmth and kindness of my teacher, and how she was able to create a welcoming community for my classmates and me. I want to be that teacher my students remember.

What are your future visions and goals?
Well, first and foremost, I would like to obtain my master’s degree this spring (May 2021) and my National Board Teaching Certification! After that, I would like to continue my education and move into the PhD process!

Anything else you would like to include?
I would like to thank my professors and cohort classmates for supporting me throughout the National Board and graduate school process. I’m becoming a better educator and individual because of it

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