“Not only did my time in the MEdT program prepare me for educating elementary students in the classroom, but it laid a strong foundation for future research and study in TESOL.”
School of Teacher Education - M.Ed. in Teaching
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Minneapolis, but I’ve also lived in Lake Tahoe, NV; Lincolnshire, IL; and Southport, CT. My husband is a Developmental Pediatrician in the US Army, so we’ve been stationed in many places worldwide, including Maryland, Washington, Hawaiʻi, Germany, and Qatar.
How did you become interested in the field of education?
After graduating with my BS in PE Health Sciences, I worked for several years as an assistant in an outpatient setting. I loved working one-on-one with patients and thought that I would eventually get an advanced degree in physical therapy. However, when my husband began medical school and joined the military, I decided to stay home to raise a family. I have six children, ranging in age from 9–23. During those years of volunteering in the classroom, coaching soccer teams, leading youth church group programs, and homeschooling for a time, I realized how much I love working with and teaching children. When the opportunity presented itself, I decided to pursue education as my new career path.
Why did you choose the Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) program?
While my children were young, I started first in Montessori teaching, loving the one-on-one/hands-on/educating the whole child philosophy. I worked several years in that setting. Later, we moved overseas to Qatar where my children were split up among several international schools. My world opened up to different teaching styles, philosophies, curriculums, and opportunities, and I realized I needed a U.S. teaching license and a background in TESOL if I wanted to enter this new world.
When we moved to Hawaiʻi, I became a long-term substitute teacher for a kindergarten multilingual learner (MLL) inclusion class. I absolutely loved it, but quickly realized that I still had a lot to learn. I looked around at different graduate programs and was deeply impressed and inspired by several teachers who were graduates of the UH Mānoa COE teacher licensure programs. I decided to apply to the MEdT program, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Where do you work?
I currently work at the SBW International School-Westpfalz in Germany. I am a substitute teacher and work with grades reception (kindergarten) through 8th grade. We use the IB curriculum.
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your education and/or career path?
Not only did my time in the MEdT program prepare me for educating elementary students in the classroom, but it laid a strong foundation for future research and study in TESOL. After moving to Germany, I was accepted to the University of St. Andrews MSc TESOL (emphasis in Young Learners) Distance Learning Program. Doing coursework while working at the SWB International School-Westpfalz has been the perfect opportunity to apply what I am learning with students from around the globe.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My COE elective MLL instructor and Plan B Advisor Professor Brooke Chapman de Sousa has been instrumental in reaching my goals in TESOL. In high school, my sophomore English teacher, Mr. Gillette, gave us the tools to become well-organized and creative writers, taught us how to think reflectively, introduced us to philosophy, opened our minds to the wonders of nature, encouraged us to travel the world, and helped us see our role in making the world a better place through service or humanitarian work.
What are your future visions and goals?
I feel that the possibilities and opportunities are endless. I would like to teach internationally (hopefully one day get back to Hawaiʻi), be involved in humanitarian work, and create educational and language programs that support the most vulnerable in our society. My focus would be on educating the whole child, helping children break the cycle of poverty and discrimination and giving them the voice and tools to better their own communities.