Aloha Kumu Cohort*, MEd CS Student
"Though I'm already an educator, there's always room for improvement."
Sili Savaii, Western Samoa
- MEd, Curriculum Studies: Aloha Aina Education & Leadership
What drew you to your current program?
I went to the informational meeting and found the program to be something that will help me strengthen my practice and lift my students to a higher level.
What are you doing now?
I have been a teacher for the past seven years. I teach English to English Language Learners at Waiʻanae High School.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
I believe that anyone can learn, but learning and practicing what is good must be the goal. We cannot lift another soul when we are ignorant. Education is key to lifting humanity out of undesirable circumstances.
How do you relate to your students as a teacher?
I was once a student, like them, and I understand that learning happens one precept at a time. No one learns anything overnight; it comes little by little based on preparation and the drive to receive knowledge in full. Also, some learning will not happen right in the classroom, but at a time when the mind makes the connection with other concepts in real life.
Describe your road to becoming an educator.
I’ve always wanted to run my own business because I enjoy the competition and challenge of that field. After college, I worked at various businesses for two years to gain some real world experience, but didn’t find full satisfaction there. When I entered the classroom in 2003, I felt ight at home. I liked being a teacher. I enjoyed sharing and receiving ideas from students. I gained satisfaction when the students finally gained their “ahas”. I knew then and there that I must do everything I could to pursue teaching. So, I’ve been in education ever since.
How has the COE helped you on your road to becoming an educator?
Though I’m already an educator, there’s always room for improvement. The COE has helped me tremendously by employing well prepared professors who care and understand. My first encounter with the COE was with the Hawaiʻi Writing Project (HWP), which prepared me to teach place-based education, vocabulary, and genre study in a new way. HWP greatly improved my students’ learning and my own progress as a teacher and mother. I have had the opportunity to meet great teachers like Rhonda Novak, Cristy Kessler, Julie Kaomea, Kimo Cashman, and so many others who have truly lifted my vision of what education is all about. They all create excitement for me to learn and infect others with the same excitement.
Notes from some of Saofai’s students
“Ms. Lowe, I want to thank you for being my teacher. It is mainly you that has helped me improve my English.”
“One of my favorite teachers is Ms. Lowe. She is an English teacher and I thought she should get the Best Teacher Award. When I first came to Hawaii, I didn’t know how to speak in English and my mom let me went to school for better education. Here, I meet Ms. Lowe in Waianae High School. She always help my homework and teach me how to speak English. She even take lessons for me after school so that I can grasp English faster. It was easy to help people sometimes, but it was hard to help people every day and she did. After about half year, I can talk with classmates in English and it’s all thanks to Ms. Lowe.”
“Ms. Lowe helps us out if we have a problem and I knew that Ms. Lowe wouldn’t be the same as the other teachers. I said that because when I was in 10th grade I experienced that when my teachers got mad they swore with bad words and I never heard that Ms. Lowe swore in her classroom in front of us.”
*The Aloha Kumu Cohort is made up of teachers in Nanakuli, Waiʻanae and Kapolei schools. The focus is on National Board certification and community-engaged scholarship. Please contact Dr. Kimo Cashman at email@example.com for more information.