Minor in Education and Master of Education in Teaching

Tiara Sope

“Join the MIE if you want to get a feel for what the DOE and COE are all about. You won’t regret your decision.”


Honolulu, HI


School of Teacher Education - M.Ed. in Teaching; Special Education

Where do you work?
I am a special education English teacher at Waipahu High School.

How did you become interested in the Minor in Education (MIE)?
I had been working for the city and county as a lifeguard where I was exposed to teaching children how to swim. I realized that I loved to teach. I loved seeing my swim students grow and leave my class as stronger swimmers. Since my degree was in a general subject area, English, I decided to look into the options I would have to become a licensed teacher. I saw that UHM was offering the MIE for the first time and that it would provide exposure to the profession. I haven’t looked back since!

What made you decide to return for your teaching license?
My passion for working with kids made me return for my teaching license. I love being in the classroom. It’s where I feel the most confident. I love the English content, and I have the patience and grit for working with students and planning engaging lessons. I knew I wanted to teach secondary school so that I could grow and learn alongside them.

Would you recommend the MIE to other students? Why?
I would definitely recommend the MIE to other students. As a young teacher, it’s a daunting task to pick a career choice that you can be stuck with forever. The MIE provided me opportunities to connect with individuals who are already working within the DOE and gave me exposure to seeing some classes in action. Joining the MIE also allowed me to expand my knowledge about the teaching profession. Through the program, I was able to find information and become a substitute teacher and paraprofessional educator for English Language Learners.

What was the best part of your program(s) at the COE?
Meeting new people. I think the awesome part about the COE was the networking. I got to work with a very diverse group of people – teachers, students, and staff alike. It was awesome to learn and grow alongside these people. When I applied for the MEDT program, I already knew a handful of people who were able to guide me.

In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
My philosophy is that students learn best when they feel supported, are able to connect to the content, and are able to recognize their own emotions. I hope to give students this supportive and safe space to allow them to mature and grow to become the best versions of themselves.

How did the people and the program in the COE help you along your way to becoming a teacher?
I was able to build relationships with my professors and students in my MIE classes. Together, I was able to see and hear about other people’s ideas about being a teacher and the field of education. I was able to maintain these relationships past graduation, which helped me when I was in the process of applying for the MEdT program. The awesome SPED panel we had in a class during the MIE cemented my decision of adding special education to my licensure content area.

What are your future plans?
I am still teaching swim lessons to little kids. I will also continue to teach special education English at Waipahu High School. Next year, I will be teaching a senior line. I have hopes of returning to UH Mānoa to further my education.

When did you complete the MIE? Your teaching license?
I completed the MIE in Fall 2020, was licensed in general education in December 2022, and earned my MEdT in Spring 2023.

Anything else you would like to include?
Join the MIE if you want to get a feel for what the DOE and COE are all about. You won’t regret your decision.

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