WorldTeach volunteers are nothing if not flexible, and we are great admirers of the way our teachers are able to roll with the punches that inevitably come hand-in-hand with overseas service! Bret Scofield, WorldTeach American Samoa volunteer, exemplifies the kind of courage and initiative that we look for and share below the story of unexpectedly becoming a welding teacher-- and succeeding!
"Teaching welding in American Samoa has been a wild adventure so far. When our principal asked me to teach welding right before school started in August, I was more than a little worried. The dual obstacles of different safety standards and a different language were daunting, especially when the other WorldTeach volunteers remained safely ensconced in textbooks and academia. My fears were more than realized when the first day of school arrived and eleven burly senior boys strolled into the cavernous welding shop, joking and laughing with each other. Despite a summer without welding practice, they proceeded to run seamless beads. I remember worrying that I had nothing to teach them.
Despite the initial intimidation, I love teaching welding now. Our welding curriculum is fairly general, which leaves time to teach practical skills. My juniors and seniors each had a mock interview for a job with our principal, and we spent time writing resumes, filling in job applications and practicing handshakes. While not directly concerning welding, the students saw the value in learning about jobs and interviewing. I also love welding because the class sizes are small, leading to a family atmosphere. All of the students know each other quite well and they work seamlessly on projects together. It’s wonderful to be a part of this environment and I’ll be very sad to say goodbye to my students in June!"