Heather Talmage has always been passionate about teaching young children – it was her remarkable love and enthusiasm for educating keiki that led her to become the Lower School Vice Principal at Hanalani Schools. When God opened doors for her to even further her knowledge of early child education through a Master’s degree from Liberty University, she took it. In December 2016, she successfully completed and received her Masters of Education (M.Ed.) – Teaching and Learning Early Childhood Education.
Heather said, “It was a hard yet rewarding journey and I can now say that I am grateful to have gone on it! I truly enjoy working with young ones, and through my master’s classes, I have a renewed passion ignited in me for educating young learners.”
Whether it’s through teacher meetings or during different classroom scenarios, Heather hopes to share what she’s learned, so that adults, parents and teachers can better help Hanalani students. Her newfound knowledge includes techniques and strategies of classroom management and a thorough understanding of the different developmental stages of cognitive and motor skills in young children.
More important than academic knowledge, Heather said her classes taught her the importance of being a loving, collaborative and patient teacher. “And above all, being passionate is so important as a teacher. Children feed off your enthusiasm, so you have to love what you do,” she says.
She added, “I also learned that we have to be always flexible. We might have a lesson plan, but anything could go wrong in a classroom. We also never know what the child might be going through at home, so we have to be empathetic and understanding, and meet our students where they are at.”
On a personal level, Heather said that her relationship with God has deepened by pursuing this master’s degree. One of the challenges for her was getting back into student mode. It was initially hard for her to find balance between completing assignments on time while managing the responsibilities of a full-time job. However, through God’s strength and lots of prayers from friends and family, she was able to adjust quickly to school, and graduated with success.
She expressed gratitude for her family, friends, church family and the Hanalani ‘ohana who prayed, supported and encouraged her all along the way.
She said, “Through the course of the journey, I had to fully rely on God to see me through each assignment and each class. I am so grateful for a faithful, loving, long-suffering, caring, gracious, giving and powerful heavenly Father, who was my rock and my stronghold during my year-and-a-half journey!”