Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi (2013-2014)

DJ High

"I am privileged to have participated in this course in my first year of teaching. It has shaped the way I will teach for my entire career!"

Hometown

Winston Salem, North Carolina (currently Mountain View, Hawai'i)

Department

Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • Ethnomathematics PD

Where do you work?
I am currently a 7th grade life science teacher at Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi Campus.

How has the Ethnomathematics program impacted or benefitted your career path?
I enrolled in the institute my first year of teaching. It was an awesome way for me to connect with other, more experienced educators across the state and through different specialties. I was able to collaborate and brainstorm amazing ideas with so many incredible minds. After each session I would leave in a state of awe, and completely inspired to return to my classroom refreshed. I am now comfortable to stray from the book, as I had intended as a teacher, and still connect our real world to common standards that public educators are now held to. The institute opened many new doors to me through education and community building events that spawned from this experience. I am privileged to have participated in this course in my first year of teaching. It has shaped the way I will teach for my entire career!

What does ethnomathematics mean to you?
To me, ethnomathematics means bridging Western standards-based learning and Hawaiian culture-based education. Through my work in public charter and private school settings, I do my best to connect topics to moʻolelo [stories], cultural practices, ʻōlelo noʻeau [proverbs], and other place-based events/phenomenon.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My high school language arts teacher, Laurie Schaefer inspired me to be a teacher.  In high school, Ms. Schaefer was the first teacher who helped me see that if you teach, you can not only follow your own interests but inspire others to enjoy and explore them as well.  Ever since taking her class, I realized that working with young people and sharing the things that interest you can help shape their own futures.  All it takes is a seed!  In addition, during my undergraduate years at UH Mānoa, Shannon Lowrey inspired me to welcome, value, and build on the strengths of all cultures.

What are your future visions and goals?
In the future I hope to continue to hone my practice as I spend more time in the science field (originally an elementary teacher) and find more connections to ʻike Hawaiʻi [knowledge of Hawai’i].  Each year, I hope to get students more involved with the ʻāina [land] and through that help them build their own identities as well as continue to learn from them each day!

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