MEd in Educational Foundations Student

Charmaree Cook

"My experience this summer was amazing! Our cohort is full of wonderful, smart, friendly, and fun people."


North Pole, Alaska


Educational Foundations

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Educational Foundations: Educational Leadership

What are you doing now?
I teach third grade at Badger Road Elementary in North Pole, Alaska.

How did you become interested in educational foundations and the EdLeads* program?
Last Christmas (2013), on a trip to Seattle, I couldn’t sleep. So, in the middle of the night, I was looking at UH Mānoa while looking at colleges for my son. I came across the flyer for the EdLeads program and immediately felt it was exactly what I was looking for in my own educational journey. I had been contemplating starting a master’s program for some time, but I didn’t want to do an online only program. I was really looking for an experience, but also a program that would allow me to continue working while taking classes. The EdLeads schedule was perfect for me, and I am so happy I stumbled upon it that late night!

Why are cultural, historical, and/or philosophical perspectives in education so important?
To be effective teachers, we have to want to learn about our students.  We need to be curious and open to the events and beliefs that have shaped and are shaping their lives.  Learning about the student’s cultural identity and communicating that we are interested in that identity creates an environment of trust and respect that facilitates and expedites the learning process.

What is your philosophy of teaching?
My philosophy of teaching is focused on teaching student responsibility and can be expressed by one of my favorite quotes:  “The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher” -Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American author, editor and printer.

My job is to teach students how to be problem-solvers, goal-setters, and responsible members of our classroom community. I also think it is vital to let students experience pride in work that is difficult but well done. I believe that students can and will rise to high expectations, but they also need opportunities to be children, have fun, laugh, and relax at points during the school day.

How has the EDEF program and faculty/staff helped you along in your career path?
My experience this summer was amazing! Our cohort is full of wonderful, smart, friendly, and fun people. The EDEF faculty and staff were helpful and accommodating beyond my expectations and always willing to take time to make sure we all had what we needed to do well and succeed in the program. Entering the EdLeads Master’s program is truly one of the best decisions I have ever made!

What are your future plans?
I plan to continue teaching at Badger Road Elementary for at least another school year.  After completing next summer’s classes and receiving my master’s, I hope to continue cultivating my leadership role within my teaching position. I may move to another city within Alaska or out of the state, depending on job availability, but I am very excited to share what I’ve learned and will learn with colleagues wherever I go!

*EdLeads is a 30-credit graduate studies program, leading to an MEd in Educational Foundations. It is designed to enable educators to pursue a master’s degree without career interruption. With an emphasis on the exploration of educational issues from cultural, philosophical, historical, and international perspectives, the entire program may be completed in less than fifteen months (2 summer terms, 5 weeks each) through a combination of online work and on-campus classes. Meet EdLeads professor, Baoyan Cheng.

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