Ashley Mika Ito-Macion
STE Elementary Alumna and Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellow
“We wanted to help teachers, and after discussions, collaboration, and just true inspiration, we created this space to ask questions and be inspired by other educators during the pandemic.”
School of Teacher Education - Elementary
- BEd, Elementary Education
How did you become interested in the field of education?
This is one of my favorite funny stories. In my senior year of high school, I had to take an extra class. I chose Early Childhood Education, thinking it was the class where you got to take care of a fake baby. It turned out to be a class about creating lesson plans and working with students. I went home to tell my mom that I think I found my passion in teaching. She also mentioned that she wanted to become an educator when she was younger. I got this overwhelming feeling and just knew I was meant to be an educator.
Where do you work?
I work at the amazing Kanoelani Elementary School.
What does it mean to you to have been selected as a Hawaiʻi State Teacher Fellow?
It means the world to me to be selected as a fellow! It means that others believe in me and want to see me strive for greater things. The opportunities that the fellows have are unique and can serve others on so many levels. It’s corny, but I feel like Spiderman and that scene where Uncle Ben tells him, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
What do you hope to gain from the fellowship?
I hope that I can have a hand in making a difference for educators. I hope that I can look back on my life and be so proud of the things I was able to contribute and accomplish with supportive friends in the fellows.
Do you participate in any clubs, organizations, or other projects outside of school?
I do! I serve on the board of Hawaiʻi Youth Philanthropy and get to work with passionate people who are always finding ways to help more students and educators.
My husband and I also created the Hawaiʻi Distance Learning Forum in April 2020 when educators were faced with moving exclusively to distance learning. We wanted to help teachers, and after discussions, collaboration, and just true inspiration, we created this space to ask questions and be inspired by other educators during the pandemic. It truly opened my eyes to the importance of collaboration across our education system. Since then, we’ve grown to be so much more. We’ve really taken the time to hone in on the collaborative and community building among educators in our state.
What does your school year look like amid COVID-19? How are you and your students adapting?
The school year has been met with challenges, but it’s nothing that educators can’t handle. Each quarter has looked so different from the previous one, but we’re adapting quickly. We’ve integrated so many new ways of learning, choosing love, and finding the good in each day! We’re just chugging along with a good attitude and finding little things to celebrate each day!
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE taught me the importance of determination, creating and reaching goals, and always doing what’s best for students.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
Oh yes! My mom inspired me to be an educator. Also, growing up with a little sister who is nine years younger than me taught me about caring for others. She inspired me to care about the future, and that’s our students. She’s also now in the COE program and graduating this May!
What are your future visions and goals?
My future vision is to see school and professional development reimagined. I’m excited to see how we can change the system of education, which COVID showed us needs a serious update. We’ve been able to see education through a new lens, and I would love to further explore that to see how amazing education can be. I also would love to see how teachers update their learning and work through professional development.