Danielle and company in front of the High School

“After those two lessons I remembered how much I like math.”

Sometimes, teaching is like getting a second chance at being a kid. As teachers, we get a sense of nervousness, a sense of challenge, and a sense of rising to the occasion. Sometimes, teachers feel like they’re being talked about in the back of the class, but they can’t let it distract them. Sometimes, teachers are asked questions they’re not prepared for, but they can’t call it quits. And sometimes, teachers get the unique opportunity to relearn critical skills, and they’re better for it.

Always, teaching puts you in touch with how you became a teacher and instills in you a sense of duty to share critical life lessons. And sometimes, just like being a kid, there’s a sense of genuine surprise and satisfaction at the outcomes. For Danielle Randolph, who just completed week 1 in American Samoa, it’s all coming back to her.

It’s been hard to put into words the first week of school. I went in nervous and not knowing what to expect. The first day of school was so overwhelming. Moving here I knew it was going to be a challenge since English is their second language but I wasn’t prepared for this. I’ve been to Honduras multiple times so I am familiar with not being able to communicate with the community but having it in a classroom is completely different. We are suppose to teach in English and the students are suppose to speak in English during class. One of my rules is speak Samoan appropriately, aka we speak English in my class. After I went over the rules and everything, typical first day of school stuff, I had each class decorate a sign(they really enjoy art here) that goes on their classes desk to turn in work. During this activity one of my classes were very chatty, they were only speaking Samoan and laughing like crazy, Samoans also laugh a lot! Which makes since that’s their first language but I just sat there and stared at them. I had no idea what they were saying, if it was appropriate or not, if they were talking bad about me, who know what. Thinking to myself again what the heck did I get myself into. This was basically how the first day went..Wednesday was a different story. We do block schedule, with 6 periods total and two are prep periods. I really have a dream schedule. 1st-prep, 2nd- geometry, 3rd- algebra 2, 4th- prep, 5th- algebra 1, and 6th-geometry. So I have at least one prep period everyday! We end up seeing every class three times a week. The first week wasn’t our normal schedule since Monday was Labor Day but we still saw every class the normal amount. Anyways sorry for the tangent..Wednesday was my first content day. A lot of teachers said not to actually teach the first week. That they draw out their rules, syllabus, and such the first week. No way I taught! There’s no time to waste, there is so much I have to cover. Apparently last years algebra 1 class only got through 6 chapters, there’s 13. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday I had a geometry and algebra 2 class. Starting off I was very nervous. I basically have to reteach myself everything. I’m always on edge thinking they’re going to ask me something I don’t know and of course they did. Thinking on my toes I told them an answer one of my students even asked “are you sure” ha I then googled it to make sure (obviously not letting them know I was googling it though) I was right! After those two lessons I remembered how much I like math. I absolutely LOVE teaching math and so glad I get the opportunity to teach it at Manu’a. I might have to learn three different maths over again and spend most of my free time relearning them but it’s so fun!! My students are engaged in the lessons and the best part when I ask them to do something they don’t complain/talk back!! What who knew there are kids out there that don’t complain/talk back. Hopefully this continues all year, I guess check back in a month I’ll let you know?? The rest of the week went by smoothly and made me pumped for what’s to come this year!

Here’s the typical first day of school pic:

Obviously we had to take a roomie first day of school pic:

And we had to get a picture once we got to school. The four WorldTeach Volunteers at Manu’a High School: