UH Hilo’s School of Education celebrates 14 grad students on their way to becoming teachers

Having completed the first year of the two-year master of arts in teaching program, the students are now ready to apply for teacher licensure and for positions across the state.

Group of 13 students, all in lei, pose in three rows for photo.
Graduate students in the UH Hilo School of Education’s master of arts in teaching program, celebrate completion of their first year of studies in the two-year program, May 11, 2023, at the Campus Center Plaza. From left, front row, Ryan Coad, Kenneth Bugado, Kawika Venhuizen, and Jojo Balagot. Middle row, LiAnn Yamamoto, Kaitlyn Funai, Brysha Balancio-Sadamura, and Kaelyn Uchida. Back row, Haley Johns, Danelle Leite, Laura Luther, Shari Becher, and Tiffany-Ann Hoota. Unable to attend was Taylor Ogawa. (Courtesy photo from the School of Education/UH Hilo)

By Susan Enright.

Fourteen graduate students in the master of arts in teaching program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo were honored May 11 at an event to commemorate the completion of their first year of the two-year program. The students, who have completed three semesters of studies and field work, are now ready to apply for teacher licensure and for teaching positions across the state.

Jan Ray pictured with lei.
Jan Ray

“Graduate students in the master of arts in teaching program within the School of Education at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo have spent the last nine months preparing to become classroom teachers within the public, public charter, and private schools across the state of Hawai‘i,” says Jan Ray, professor of education and director of the school.

The event, an annual tradition at the school, is a sweet celebration with the students joined by their professors, supervisors, UH Hilo administrators, and cooperating teachers from the community who are participating in the students’ training, some of whom are former UH Hilo graduate students themselves.

UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin also attended the event.

“Wonderful turnout to celebrate our teacher candidates and their cooperating teachers,” Chancellor Irwin tweeted.

The licensure year

Logo with red apple shaped like a heart and the words: School of Education The Heart of our Learning Community, University of Hawaii HILOCalled the “licensure year,” this first year of the teaching program is a milestone for the grad students because with the completion of their teacher-preparation coursework, field work, and student teaching, they are now eligible to apply for teacher licensure through the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board, interview for teaching positions, and begin their first year of teaching in their own classrooms in August.

Through their coursework over the past school year, each member of the cohort learned about child development, classroom management, lesson planning, instructional strategies, educational technology, assessment for learning, educator ethics, and more.

“Through their field experiences, they moved from observing other teachers to facilitating lessons with students in their own classrooms, under the watchful eyes of mentor teachers, during the student teaching semester,” says Ray.

Group of 14 grad students in matching black tops pose on very green lawn for photo.
The master of arts in teaching cohort at the start of their graduate studies. From left, front row, Taylor Ogawa, Kaitlyn Funai, Brysha Balancio-Sadamaru, Danelle Leite, Tiffany-Ann Hoota, Kaelyn Uchida, and LiAnn Yamamoto. Back row, Haley Johns, Shari Becher, Jojo Balagot, Kawika Venhuizen, Laura Luther, Ryan Coad, and Kenneth Bugado. (Courtesy photo from the School of Education/UH Hilo)

What’s next

During their second year of the program, this cohort will sharpen their teaching skills through action research, which is a form of research that enables them to establish baseline data on student performance, teach their students in specific content areas, and measure student progress, as well as their own teaching effectiveness, over time.

The next cohort, number 11 of the program, starts their two years of studies on July 10, 2023.

Ray encourages anyone interested in becoming a teacher to contact UH Hilo’s School of Education. Scholarships and tuition stipends are available.

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.