Published: February 3, 2020
When Trena Hudson, M.A., decided to pursue her master’s degree in human development, she didn’t know her success would be measured by far more than just a grade. As a straight-A student throughout elementary, high school, and as an undergrad at Oklahoma State University, she assumed she would settle into the program at Pacific Oaks College and mark off the tasks, make the grade, and come out on top. What she found, however, was something much deeper—requiring her to take a more active, engaged role in her education.
“I thought that as long as you get an A, you’re good. But at Pacific Oaks, I learned to trust the process. I started to think I may have never learned anything this deeply before,” Hudson says. “It really taught me a different way of learning. I learned how to be an active learner and how to impact others in a positive way, and I’ve carried that with me throughout my career.”
Hudson began working with young children at a daycare while in college as a way to work around her busy class schedule. She then grew her experience with both teaching in the classroom and an M.A. in human development. She continues to share what she has learned on her journey as a professor at San Jose City College and Pacific Oaks. She also works as the Centerbase Operations Director at Go Kids, Inc.—an agency that provides child-care and education training for teachers.
“I try to mimic the way that Pacific Oaks changed the traditional, cold classroom model for me.” Hudson says. “The cohort model told me, ‘You’re going to have to engage; you’re going to have to be present; you’re going to be responsible—not just for your learning but for the learning of your cohort members.’ It’s that level of responsibility and accountability that Pacific Oaks is known for, and what really helped me grow. It’s just a part of me now.”
As a manager and teacher of those who work in the classroom every day, Hudson knows the value of practicing what you preach. “Specifically in our field of early education, nobody is here to get rich. We have to meet people where they are and work with what they have. Whatever we’re expecting someone to do in the classroom, as leaders, we have to go there with them. It needs to be full circle.”
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