Midway through their program, the WorldTeach staff and volunteers in American Samoa came together to release their own November newsletter! With pictures, quotes, and volunteer stories, the newsletter details the challenges that they face every day, and the love they share for their students, community, and country.
A story from the newsletter worth sharing is that of Jason Hart's fourth period class of juniors, which he has named "The Locker Room". The class is aptly named, as it consists of seven boys who entered the class "trying to get fist bumps and a new best friend, as though the setting was a locker room and I was their
older wiser buddy." Jason has come to find that boys will be boys, as the class often seems to care more about making noise and fooling around than about homework and learning. Still, Jason has taught amazing lessons and made some real progress. For example, at the end of the quarter he asked his students to select a word about science and represent it creatively on a piece of paper. The project was a huge success, and Jason hopes that the students are on their way to becoming even more curious and interested in learning!
Another volunteer, Melanie Koto, sometimes feels that she is not making an impact on her students lives, but little moments of hope make even the most challenging times worth fighting through. For example, when a student who had trouble focusing passed one of his tests, he was elated and made him eagerly participate in the class discussion the next day! Another great moment for Melanie was when she created a survey asking what her students liked about her and the class. With answers such as, "What I like about you is that you always push us to do work to get better grade. But what I like about this class is that I learned some of the new things that I did not learn before." Melanie got just the kind of motivation she needed!
In the end, no matter how crazy teaching can be, Melanie continually is made aware of how much she is making a difference in her students' lives, and how much her students are making a difference in hers. As she puts it:
They are my little rays of sunshine (figuratively and literally, since they are always in gold). They are the reason why, despite the fact that I want to go home and try something new next year, I can't fathom leaving in June, even though they are crazy and just plain absurd.
These fun stories from the newsletter make it clear how, despite some challenges, the volunteers have remained as positive, dedicated, and funny as ever! Thank you for the amazing work you have all been
doing in American Samoa!