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ASCC-TED Hosts Spring 2021 Educators Night


Lt.
Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale (right) was one of the
special guests at the American Samoa Community College –
Teacher Education Department (TED) Educators Night earlier
this month. Talauega, seen here with TED Program Director
Shirley De la Rosa, spoke to more than 100 teachers from
local public and private schools about the new
administration’s support for the work they do. (Photo: J.
Kneubuhl)

As the Territory
celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week at the beginning of
this month, the Teacher Education Department (TED) at the
American Samoa Community College (ASCC) hosted Educators
Night, which over the last few years has become a regular
semester event. Educators Night, which is free and open to
all teachers from American Samoa’s public and private
schools, gives the TED an opportunity to share information
on student learning, classroom management, teaching
methodologies and more while local educators network with
their peers. For this semester’s event, held on May 3rd in
the College’s Multi-Purpose Center auditorium, the TED
slightly modified the theme to Empowering Educators Night,
placing the focus on teachers’ social, emotional and
mental well-being.

Along with the TED, the ASCC
administration, and more than 100 of the island’s
teachers, a number of special guests helped make Empowering
Educators Night a success, including Pastor David Katina who
gave the evening’s opening prayer. Next, Lt. Gov. Talauega
Eleasalo Ale gave the opening remarks, expressing his
appreciation for the hard work educators face daily and the
new administration’s goal of raising teachers’ salaries
in the hopes of keeping the best teachers in our local
classrooms. Talauega also shared his view that American
Samoa needs more professionals in the STEAM (science,
technology, engineering, arts and math)-related areas, and
how he hopes dedicated teachers will provide a starting
point for local students’ futures in these
professions.

Educators Night typically follows a
format where different stations are set up at various
locations in the auditorium. The participating teachers form
groups of equal numbers, and these groups spend 15-20
minutes at each respective station, with the TED staff
keeping the rotation organized. At one station, staff
members Monica Afalava and Darius Vaofanua from the American
Samoa Health Education Center gave a presentation on Self
Care. Another station featured a discussion of Mental Health
led by Sitia S. Lemusu and Salilo Julia Levi-Foifua of the
Department of Health. Representing the Department of Health
& Human Services were Talalupelele Fiso and Tuumafua
Maiava, who spoke on Suicide Awareness at their station.
Additional stations were manned by TED faculty members
Moresa Langkilde, Lance Glodowski and Brandy
Shimasaki-Barber, each highlighting a different aspect of
what the TED calls SMART Goals. SMART, a group of organizing
principles especially applicable to the teaching profession,
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and
Time Bound.

After all the groups of teachers had
rotated through each of the stations, everyone turned their
attention to a presentation by guest speaker by Adney Reid,
Mental Health Psychotherapist and Licensed Clinical Social
Worker. Reid’s topic was Emotional Health, and he talked
about his experiences treating individuals experiencing
stress and burnout. Reid shared the insight that the level
of stress involved with most jobs rarely decreases, but
individuals can still use proven methods of increasing their
stress tolerance as a means of coping with challenging
situations. Next, Ella Gurr, chairperson of the American
Samoa Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the teachers to express
the Chamber’s support for the work they do, and to
emphasize how a well-educated local workforce is a crucial
component to the Territory’s economic well-being.

To
add an element of fun to the proceedings, raffle prizes and
other gifts were given away throughout the evening, thanks
to the support of the event’s community sponsors the
American Samoa Chamber of Commerce; Good In American Samoa
(GIAS); Vailu’u & Sons Inc.; Jaydyn Designs; Meredith
Law, LLC; Cherries Salon; Neil’s Ace Home Center;
Heaven’s Touch Massage & Spa; and Cheat Day. “Our
special guests, the support of the ASCC administration, our
community sponsors, and especially the participation of the
teachers all contributed towards the evening being a great
success,” said TED-ASDOE Recruiter Fa’aletaua Saili.
“No matter how prepared we are,” she reflected, “it
takes the presence and the engagement of the teachers to
make this all
worthwhile.”

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