BEd in Elementary Education Alumna

Riley Tagawa

“The COE program has set me up for success and provided numerous opportunities to improve my teaching.”


‘Aiea, HI


School of Teacher Education - Elementary

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Elementary Education

How did you become interested in the field of education?
I wanted a career that would allow me to change the world, and I enjoy working with kids, so my parents suggested I become a teacher. Ever since then, I’ve been pursuing teaching and can’t imagine my life in any other field of work.

How has the Elementary Education Ka Malu o Kaiona* program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has set me up for success and provided numerous opportunities to improve my teaching. They went above and beyond to support my teaching and have allowed me to grow every step of the way.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
Since pre-kindergarten, every teacher who has been a part of my life’s journey has inspired my teaching career. Each educator has contributed at least one quality that I want to represent when I become a teacher.

What is your most memorable experience from being a part of the Ka Malu O Kaiona cohort?
Being a part of the Ka Malu O Kaiona cohort has been a memory in itself. We’ve continued to support one another during this two-year program through all our ups and downs, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

How has COVID-19 affected your life? What have you been doing to adjust and adapt? What has brought you the most comfort during this time?
It saddens me that I can’t be in school with my students anymore, but I understand that the precautionary steps need to be taken. What’s brought me the most comfort during this time is the accessibility to video conferences with my cohort members, mentor teacher, friends, family, etc. because they reciprocate the same feelings and emotions that I’m going through, and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this situation.

What are your future visions and goals?
My future goal is to continue to grow with every experience I have, and my future vision is to make an impact in the world, one student at a time.

*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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