BEd in Elementary Education Student

Noelle Lum Kee

“I’ve always loved the idea of being a teacher in a classroom, helping the next generation and being someone students can depend on. Now my dream is becoming a reality!”


Mililani, O‘ahu


School of Teacher Education - Elementary

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Elementary Education

What is your current COE program?
I am in the first cohort of Ka Malu O Kaiona* in the Elementary Education program.

How did you become interested in the field of education?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always been really outgoing and social. My favorite game to play when I was younger was “school.” I’ve always loved the idea of being a teacher in a classroom, helping the next generation and being someone students can depend on. Now my dream is becoming a reality!

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has helped me solidify my choice of becoming a teacher. I feel like I have gotten a lot of experience and opportunities to help me as a future teacher. I also really love how this program has given me great stability when it comes to classes, professors, and my field placement.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
I had a lot of really great teachers growing up, but the first person that comes to my mind is my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Ebinger. It was her first year teaching at my school, and she made such a huge impact on me. She was kind, understanding, and had a lot of patience. I will never forget how she helped me with one of my most challenging subjects, math. She took the time to make me really understand the concepts while still pushing me to do my best. Even after I had left elementary, graduated from high school and now college, she has still kept in touch with me after all these years! She’s truly an inspiration, and I hope to make the same impact on my kids as she did for me.

What is your most memorable experience from being a part of the Ka Malu O Kaiona cohort?
My most memorable experience is being able to teach out on the Wai‘ane coast. Teaching out on the coast is something I never thought I would do, but glad I had the opportunity to. I was able to experience and learn new things that I wouldn’t have if I stayed in my own community/area.

Do you have any other favorite parts about being a student at the COE?
One of my favorite classes I participated in was STE 403C, which was a summer class that allowed me to do a field study in both Japan and Korea. It was an eye opener to see education in two different cultures while researching and learning what is important to me. This field study allowed me to really dig deep into what’s important to me as a future educator and what I want to incorporate in my future classroom. I highly suggest this course to anyone, even non education majors!

How has COVID-19 affected your life? What have you been doing to adjust and adapt?
COVID-19 has affected me in many ways. I didn’t think the last time I saw my students would be the last day of school before spring break. It was heartbreaking knowing I wasn’t going to see them again or be able to give them a proper “goodbye.” But, this experience has really taught me how resilient and flexible teachers are. From having to go from in person schooling to online schooling within a couple of weeks was scary, but was definitely achievable. I am in awe at the amount of educators who are making it through this tough time and still finding ways to connect and teach their students! I’m also glad for this experience because now I know some tips and tricks if something like this were to ever happen again. My boyfriend, friends, family, and cohort peers have all been people I can lean on during this difficult time, and I am forever grateful for that.

What are your future visions and goals?
I would like to continue teaching in the DOE and get my master’s degree, but I would also like to teach English in Japan for a couple of years. After taking the STE 403c class, it has really inspired me to go abroad!

*Ka Malu O Kaiona is a K-6 elementary cohort in the School of Teacher Education Elementary Program coordinated by Dr. Rosela Balinbin Santos. Based in Wai‘anae Coast partner schools with the goal of recruiting future teachers for and from Wai‘anae Coast communities, the program focuses on place-based learning, culturally relevant pedagogy, and community advocacy. Spring 2020 marks the first graduates of the Ka Malu O Kaiona cohort.

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