Teacher Appreciation Day is like Christmas for WorldTeach Volunteers. Our volunteers are treated like royalty around the globe. Schools host all day festivals, invite teachers for delicious meals, and students give handmade gifts and treats. Although food and gifts are wonderful and welcome, there is nothing more rewarding than a simple ‘thank you’ from one’s students. Saul and Chelsia in American Samoa share their Teacher Appreciation Day experiences.

There’s an entire week devoted to students appreciating their teachers here in American Samoa. In the States, I’m pretty sure there’ s a Teacher Appreciation Day (and I only know that because Target has cards for just about every occasion).  Teacher Appreciation Week is serious business where the students feel compelled to let you know how much they appreciate you even if they don’t quite show it sometimes.
Due to the pink eye epidemic and the health sanitation issues at the beginning of the school year; Teacher Appreciation Week got moved around and Leone High School only celebrated Teach Appreciation Wed/Thurs/Fri. It was awesome nonetheless.
On Wednesday, breakfast was hosted by the Freshmen. All teachers received a boxed breakfast that included donuts, sandwiches, an egg, and some fruit. Juniors hosted lunch on Wednesday where we had pasta, Samoan food, a couple different types of salad and a fresh cracked coconut to drink. It was more food than I want to admit but it was all quite tasty. Saul and I both had students bring us ulas and leis (necklaces stuffed with candy and other goodies/flower necklaces).  On Thursday, the seniors and sophomores hosted a “brunch” buffet at 8:00am. We were fed a plethora of Samoan food, meatballs, and a whole bunch of breakfast pastries. Again, I grossly overate (buffets are my weakness). On Friday, the office and student council hosted our final “brunch” and again, we were overfed and given a huge amount of food (please understand that this is not a complaint 😉 ). One of my amazing Freshmen students, Ramona, gave me an engraved pen holder that has my name, the Leone High School seal, and her name on it. It was super sweet. I might have got a bit teary eyed.
Our students were giving us fist-pounds, hugs, and definitely giving thanks. Even though Teacher Appreciation Week is an official thing here, it was so nice to feel appreciated for our work and effort (especially from the students).
– Saul & Chelsia Castaneda, WorldTeach American Samoa 2013-2014 If you’re interested in learning more about WorldTeach, visit our website at www.worldteach.org.
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