PBSPED Mild/Moderate, 2018-2020 Cohort and current MEd SPED Student
“Being a SPEDucator means that I can be a voice for all dedicated SPEDucators in Hawaiʻi and help to make a difference in the field of special education.”
What COE degree(s) have you earned?
I earned my Post Baccalaureate Certificate in SPED (Mild/Moderate PreK through 3rd), and I am a current Master of Education in SPED (Interdisciplinary) student.
How did you become interested in the field of special education?
I first became interested when I taught as the general education teacher in a preschool inclusion classroom. The special education teacher noticed that I would gravitate towards the students with disabilities. Sometimes it takes someone else to see your potential for you to explore other options. I felt a sense of purpose towards the students with disabilities and also knew that there was a higher need for SPED teachers than general ed teachers.
Where do you work?
I am a K–2 Resource Teacher at Red Hill Elementary School.
Do you participate in any clubs, organizations, or other projects outside of school?
Yes, I was selected as one of the fellows in the SPEDucator Project!
What does it mean to you to have been selected as a SPEDucator?
Being a SPEDucator means that I can be a voice for all dedicated SPEDucators in Hawaiʻi and help to make a difference in the field of special education.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
When I first applied, I was seeking deep, meaningful relationships with others who shared the same passion as I did for this profession. As one of the newest teachers of the group, I have gained so much wisdom from hearing the stories of more experienced SPEDucators and learning from their experiences both in the classroom and out.
What does your school year look like amid COVID-19? How are you and your students adapting?
This school year has thrown so many curve balls, not only for me, but for my students as well. Amidst all the unexpected, we were able to adapt fairly well because, above all, I have a positive relationship with each and every one of my students and we want the best for one another. I treat my students with respect, and we have built a strong bond throughout the year, before academics were even in place, so that no matter what happens, we are able to navigate through the constant changes together through trust.
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has greatly impacted my career path in Special Education. Not only were the classes beneficial, but the COE program has the best professors that I have ever worked with. They really take the time to make sure you are learning and not just going through the motions to get a grade.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
No one in particular who inspired me to pursue it, but I definitely want to thank my MUSE mentor, Aileen Soma, and my current principal, Komarey Moss, for their confidence in me as a SPED teacher. Reassurance from people you highly respect is so promising and it makes me always want to strive to be better while appreciating where I’m at.
What are your future visions and goals?
I definitely know that I want to be in the classroom for as long as I possibly can. When my time comes, and I am confident that I will know when that is, I would like to become a mentor to other Special Education Teachers. With years of personal experience from the classroom, I hope to encourage and help other SPEDucators just as my mentor has with me.
Check out this recruitment video featuring Michelle Lim:
SPEDucator website: https://sites.google.com/hawaii.edu/the-speducator-project/meet-the-speducators