Akeyo Garcia

"Balancing Home and Family"


School of Teacher Education - Elementary

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Elementary Education

Why did you decide to go back to school?

I was born and raised in Japan, got married, had kids, taught math and started a family day care, volunteered at my kids’ schools, tutored. My husband, who’s in the military, got transferred to Alaska and I asked myself “What am I going to do with my time?”

What were your biggest concerns when going back to school?

Time management and being available for my 3 teenage kids. Because I’m a mom, I already know time management. Balance between family and work. Teachers are teachers 24/7. You go to the market, see a movie… Because I have 3 teenagers, it’s hard to manage my teaching in elementary ed and my time with my kids.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your practicum?

Right now in my program, I go to field twice a week, go to UHM twice a week. Working in the field, I see different teaching styles, how things work with different students.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

What is there not to get excited about teaching? Kindergarteners are just learning how to write sentences. Talking to parents, they appreciate what you do. It’s a very rewarding occupation. Fourth graders, you see their attitude start forming.

What do you most appreciate about the COE?

My parents ended up moving here and had to take care of them. Because of my situation, they had an opening in the online program and gave me the choice between online classes or traditional classes at UH Mānoa. I really appreciate how the COE has gone out of their way to make it possible for me to go back to school. Also, the professors are excellent. Our cohort coordinators, love being in cohort, diversity in classroom, learn from other’s point of view.

What would you say to someone who’s interested in becoming a teacher but has not decided to get their teaching degree/license?

Do it! Just do it. Don’t think about it, if you think about it, it’s so scary. I have to take care of my family and don’t have support. To come back to school and not be available for my kids, it was so scary. Professors are very helpful. I’m very confident that if something does happen, I will be fine. Support from cohort coordinators and cohort students, it’s a big plus. I think our cohort is the best one.

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