PBSPED Hawkins' Scholar

"I aim to create a nurturing but challenging classroom environment where students can build confidence, discover their talents, and reach their academic potential."


Special Education

Related Degrees

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Special Education (PBSPED)

Why did you choose to become a teacher, in general?

I chose to become a teacher because I find great reward in helping young people develop, similar to my experiences as a youth sports coach. Having coached baseball, basketball, and football for players from age 4 through high school, I understand the profound impact coaches and mentors can have on not just athletic growth, but personal growth as well.

Watching my student athletes mature over the years into responsible, community-minded young adults has been incredibly fulfilling. As a teacher, I want to continue positively influencing students’ lives during their formative years. I aim to create a nurturing but challenging classroom environment where students can build confidence, discover their talents, and reach their academic potential.

My time as a youth coach has taught me that patience and encouragement go a long way. I will bring the same supportive approach I used on the field and court into my work as an educator. My ultimate goal is to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and self-belief to succeed academically and live purposeful lives. Just as I took pride in my players’ athletic feats, I want to take pride in my students’ educational and personal achievements. For me, being a teacher is an extension of the mentorship I have relished in throughout my coaching career.

Why did you choose to become licensed in special education?

I chose to become a licensed special education teacher after some meaningful experiences pointed me toward this career path. As a substitute teacher, I had my first hands-on encounters with special education classrooms. Around the same time, I received an email with information about a special education licensure program that caught my interest.

Additionally, a good friend of mine who works as a special education teacher convinced me that it would be a rewarding fit based on my skills and temperament. As she described the immense fulfillments but also challenges of working with students with exceptionalities, I felt drawn to this purposeful work.

Once I learned more about the vital need for devoted, patient, and knowledgeable special education teachers, I was compelled to pursue this career. My time as a substitute exposed me to the creativity and determination demonstrated by students in special education programs. I witnessed the close bonds these teachers developed with students through accommodating lesson plans and encouragement.

With the support and advice of my friend along with the intriguing program details I received, I felt ready to embark on the path to become a licensed special education teacher myself. I look forward to making a difference for students with diverse needs by providing an inclusive, adaptive education in my own classroom.

Why do you feel it is important to have diversity in the classroom?

I believe it is extremely important to have diversity among both teachers and students in Hawaii’s classrooms. As a Native Hawaiian teaching Hawaiian studies to special education students, I strive to immerse my students in our rich history and heritage while highlighting how all of Hawaii’s cultures uniquely enrich one another.

The diverse populations of Hawaiian, Micronesian, Japanese, Filipino, Chuukese, Samoan, Tongan, and Māori in Hawaii share deep-rooted bonds. Over generations of coexisting together on these islands, our customs, foods, values, and even languages have intersected in countless ways. Recognizing how various Asian and Pacific Islander cultures have enriched Hawaiian culture promotes connection and unity.

My goal as a Hawaiian educator is to make Hawaiian studies accessible for all learners, regardless of background or disabilities. By incorporating adaptive techniques and technologies, I enable those with exceptionalities to meaningfully engage with our stories, language, and traditions. I also emphasize the profound impacts from interconnected cultures for a comprehensive perspective.

I hope to empower the next generation of Native Hawaiian leaders and change-makers with appreciation for all of Hawaii’s people. Our diversity is our strength – by reflecting the full spectrum in our classrooms, we set students up to thrive with foundations in Hawaiian values and knowledge of how all our cultures play vital, interwoven roles in Hawaii’s history.

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