MEdT Dual Secondary/Special Education Program Student

Jessica Ford, Master of Education in Teaching Dual Secondary and SPED Alumni

"The MEdT provides both certification and a master's degree, and with the dual content of special and general education, it can't be beat."

Hometown

Kaunakakai, Hawai‘i

Department

Institute for Teacher Education - M.Ed. in Teaching

Related Degrees

  • MEdT, Teaching - Dual License SPED/Secondary

Did you always know you wanted to become a teacher?
I am the daughter of an educator who is a reading intervention specialist, but no, I did not think I’d be following exactly in her footsteps!

How did you become interested in special education in particular?
I started as an emergency hire in special education English Language Arts, and found it to be an incredibly diverse, stimulating, challenging, and rewarding work environment. It has solidified in me a passion for encouraging literacy among young adults.

Why did you choose to pursue the Master of Education in Teaching:  Dual Secondary/Special Education Program?
The MEdT provides both certification and a master’s degree, and with the dual content of special and general education, it can’t be beat. For me, as an emergency hire, the timing was critical as well. Everyone I’ve worked with at UH has been really supportive as I’ve applied and become a student.

What has been the best part of the program experience so far?
The content has been both immediately applicable to what I’m doing in the classroom as well as highly thought-provoking. The professors provide specific feedback and I can see my own improvement in skills-development as a teacher. The cohort might be one of the best assets to the program as I frequently draw on the advice and experiences of my fellow classmates. We have such a broad range of perspectives as we come from all islands. And the face-to-face weekends, while intense, definitely augment the learning curve and help to cover any materials for better understanding.

In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
I promote literacy, the most needed skill of our population in the U.S. today!

How are the people and the program in the COE helping you along your way?
One benefit I’ve really enjoyed about this program is writing. Both the quality and various types, ranging from reflections to more technical and legal documents, have helped me to write more and write better. I particularly appreciate reflecting on identity, culture, race, and related issues, both for teachers as well as students, and this program incorporates these more complex topics into some of the course materials. Additionally, the grading is rigorous, so I know I’m being challenged to produce accurate and excellent work.

As a Hawai‘i DOE emergency hire, how has the MUSE mentor program aided you?
Being in this program is forcing me to gain efficiency; effectively managing time and staying organized are my focus points. MUSE has been a great support system. My mentor checks in regularly, has provided some helpful resources, and visits me in the classroom as a supportive observer. He is excellent at keeping track of to-dos and is prompt at following up. I really appreciate his specific feedback. I would recommend this program as an emergency hire to anyone who is seriously committed to the teaching career path, and who is able to ensure the time commitment.

What are your post-program plans?
Once I’m a skillful graduate of the MEdT program, I plan to continue teaching special education and the arts of English Language at the high school level here in Hawai‘i. At some point, I’d like an opportunity to teach abroad, but that’s looking farther into the future.

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