Robert “Robby” Teczon
MEd in Educational Administration Student
“Marginalized students face unequal opportunities for success, so my overall goal is to help narrow the achievement gap so that all students have better chances for success.”
- BAM! - Combined BA in Ethnic Studies and MEd in Educational Administration
How did you become interested in the field of education?
I come from an underserved community, so my journey through school was rather difficult when I first started out at community college. Back in Stockton, it was hard to visualize success because of a lot of social and economic pressures on my community. This made any progress in school even harder for me. However, at my old school, I took part in a learning community that connected me to several staff/faculty that eventually aided in getting me back on track and helped me to finally transfer to UH Mānoa. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be like everyone who helped me to succeed, so that I can be that person for students to provide assistance in communities where assistance is needed.
Where do you work?
I’m currently working as a TA/Lab leader for the Mānoa Access Initiative (MAI) where I co-teach a success lab to first-year students with provisional admission.
Do you belong to any clubs/organizations?
I serve as an undergraduate fellow for the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and I work closely with the Student Affairs programs here at UH.
I recently presented at the NASPA Western Regional Conference. My presentation was part of a series of the conference, which included a select number of members who shared their stories about how and why they chose to pursue student affairs and, in part, acted as a way for the NASPA audience to be reminded and inspired of why they continue to serve students.
The title of my presentation was “Stockton: Healing the Heart of America’s Most Diverse City.” I focused on the characteristics of the low-income working class community I was born and raised in. I chose to shine a more positive light on my city by highlighting the strong community leaders who nurtured me through the hardships of being a student of color and how they eventually inspired me to want to become a student affairs professional so that I can help change students’ lives in the way they changed mine.
How are you adapting to distance learning amid COVID-19?
So far, I admit that distance learning enforced by COVID measures has been a difficult transition. However, not only has this semester helped me be more accustomed to the virtual format, I’ve also learned better discipline in terms of my time management and focus on classes. Next school year, I do hope to return to regular in-seat instruction, but in the case that we continue distance learning, I feel more confident that I’ll be better adjusted. The longer we continue with the virtual format, the more I learn to adapt so that I don’t fall behind. Again, as I venture further into my graduate program, the course load will get more rigorous, so even if I do feel comfortable now, I still have to actively adapt to both the graduate level studies as well as distance learning.
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has given me a more clear view to my future goal in student affairs. No matter how rigorous my graduate studies can get, I take my acceptance into the Ed Admin program as a victory and a major step towards my aspirations. My experience thus far has made me more confident in what I can and will achieve.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My inspiration comes from several individuals and groups from back home in Stockton. Instructors from the Little Manila Foundation who taught Filipino/Filipino American history helped me to realize that my story and my past experience is important in understanding my future as an educator. Debra Louie and Cirian Villavicencio, my professors from the learning community I mentioned at my old school provided much guidance and helped me and my peers feel more comfortable in the classes we had with them. Their passion for teaching nurtured me as a student and inspired me to pursue education for my career.
What are your future visions and goals?
Ideally, I want to be working in student affairs as well as academic affairs. I enjoy teaching and hope to play a role in leading students into their own futures. However, I want to also be able to provide assistance to students outside of the classroom where I can do diversity work and to create an inclusive environment for all students. Marginalized students face unequal opportunities for success, so my overall goal is to help narrow the achievement gap so that all students have better chances for success.