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Great teachers believe in their students

Blessing Faalata
Great teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon. — Ann Liberman

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  For today’s feature story highlighting local teachers of American Samoa, as part of celebrating not only the Territory’s Teachers Awareness Week from last week, but also National Teachers Awareness Week being spotlighted this week in the U.S., we have Blessing Faalata of Nu’uuli, who is a Biology teacher at Tafuna High school, home of the mighty Warriors.

Continuing the Samoa News’ feature, Ms Faalata responded to our questions via email — the first of which asked, What is it like being a teacher?

“I really love being a teacher despite the challenges I face everyday. I love the feeling of being able to help students learn and these moments where they engage in our lessons.

“I prepare lessons and materials everyday and deliver them to students. I hear and learn from them too, also getting to know them individually, it makes being a teacher all the worthwhile.

“I am an alumni of Tafuna High school, and being able to come back and teach is exciting.

“Everyday, I look forward to teaching and conversing with my students, and I love these moments where they learn while having fun.”

How satisfactory has it been teaching at THS, she answered, “It’s such a great joy being involved in the students journey to success.”

What’s been the hardest challenge, and the best part of being a teacher in this day and age?

“Not preparing the new teachers with what they should know or do throughout the year.

“New teachers have to find their way in the field and adjust to the working environment, and I had to find my own way in what I needed to do, where to go, and the expectations without any help,” Faalata said. “I basically felt lost in the first weeks.”

The best part of teaching, however she says is “being a part of the students’ journey in life. Being the one to teach, guide, comfort, and be there for them. Being able to witness their best moments and bad moments, and being an influencer in their lives.”

What improvements can DOE work on to better conditions in regards to teaching? Faalata replied, “The standards and benchmarks. I feel like they need improvements and changes to fit our students.

“Our students need local knowledge before expanding to global knowledge, and it should be realistic to fit the students' learning abilities, especially for our children on the island.”