Post Bac Certificate in Special Education, Mild/Moderate Track Candidate

Rochelle sitting on a rock wall, wearing a red and write floral dress and haku lei. Rochelle has wavy brown hair.

“Everyone in this program is extremely supportive and wants to see you succeed. It may be intimidating at first, but I'm so thankful that I took a chance on myself and applied.”

Hometown

Wailuku, HI

Department

Special Education

Related Degrees

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Special Education (PBSPED)

Did you always know you wanted to become a teacher? Briefly describe your road to this career. 
I went back and forth with what I wanted to do for a long time while getting my Bachelor’s degree. Initially, I wanted to become a counselor or family therapist but I always knew that I wanted to work with children. After a couple of years of working in special education, coworkers and friends pushed me to further my own education and become a teacher.

How did you become interested in special education in particular?
After graduating from UH Manoa, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get job experience so I became a paraprofessional skills trainer and eventually registered behavior technician. Working 1:1 with students with disabilities really opened up my eyes into the field of special education. I saw how truly rewarding this profession was.

Why did you choose to pursue the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education program?
After working as an RBT for two years, I was then hired as an educational assistant. With the support of my colleagues and wanting to further my education, I decided to look into the post-baccalaureate program at UH Manoa. My coworker had a great experience in this program as well.

How were you able to manage being in the program and working full-time as a teacher?
It’s been very difficult. Teaching during the day and coming home to do school work has been the toughest for me personally, however, my instructors were very understanding and flexible. I could always go to them if I needed extra time to complete an assignment. Having a strong support system at home was vital to me as well.

How has the MUSE mentor and program supported you as an emergency hire?
The MUSE program is fantastic in helping emergency-hire teachers navigate the stresses of being in this position. My mentor is amazing! She has always been so encouraging to me this past semester and can always answer any difficult questions I may have.

Do you recommend taking the emergency hire route to others thinking about the program?
I definitely recommend it if it’s an option. You get first-hand experience of being an educator while you are student-teaching. This is something I wouldn’t have been able to experience in a traditional placement, which is what I had during my first semester.

What was the best part of the program for you so far?
The real-life teaching experiences and knowledge that I’ve gained. I’ve had so many amazing teachers that are so knowledgeable in what they do, it’s been such a great experience learning from them.

In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
I hope that I can provide a safe space for these students to learn and grow. I know that a lot of our kiddos struggle with self-confidence and risk-taking. I really want to show them that everyone is capable of doing amazing things.

How did the people and the program in the COE helping you along your way to becoming a teacher?
My teachers, MUSE mentor, and my fellow classmates have been so amazingly supportive. I appreciate all the constructive feedback that my instructors have given me. I feel like my teaching has improved so much. I really love that I have my cohort to lean on because they know exactly what I’m going through.

What are your future plans?
I plan to continue being a special education teacher at my current school after I finish this program.

Anything else you would like to share?
Everyone in this program is extremely supportive and wants to see you succeed. It may be intimidating at first, but I’m so thankful that I took a chance on myself and applied.

I'm interested in learning more about a degree or certificate in Special Education.

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