Elementary School Teacher
Class of 1984
The best part about being a teacher is that you can start each day fresh. Claire Takahashi is a 4th grade teacher at Waiakeawaena School. For eighteen years, she has taught the core classes: math, science, social studies, and English. In social studies, the focus is ancient Hawaii; in science, astronomy; and in English and math, the basics.
While growing up, Claire’s dream job was to become an elementary school teacher. In the back of her mind, she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She attended the University of the Pacific, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree, and then received a Masters Degree of Education from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The curriculum at the University of the Pacific allowed her to immediately begin her preparation as a teacher. She put in twenty hours of volunteer work at a nearby elementary school.
As a member of the class of 1984, she remembers her relationships with her teachers the most. Her teachers encouraged her to pursue teaching as a career to make her dream come true.
She has found that as a teacher every day is a new day. It isn’t routine like many other jobs. There is never a repeat of the previous day. If you have a bad day, you can make up for it by starting off fresh the next day.
For students considering becoming an elementary school teacher, she recommends getting experience by working with younger kids through volunteering at an elementary or preschool. This experience will help them decide if teaching is right for them. Teachers start each school year with new faces, personalities and challenges. How well students learn depends on their teacher. She also suggests focusing on a child’s positive behavior, rather than punishing them.
Claire’s favorite subject to teach is language arts. Because she herself enjoys reading, she wants her students to develop a love of reading. Her greatest reward is when a former student shares how they are excelling in their life endeavors and how her class helped them succeed. After school on most days, Claire enjoys helping her fellow faculty coach a track team composed of students from grades one through five who participate in the County Department of Parks and Recreation track meet.