Faleula Galeai Aoelua Sappa


Key Takeaway from Skodel: Students felt appreciated and cared for

Introducing Faleula Galeai Aoelua Sappa. Before sharing Faleula’s story, Skodel would like to give thanks to the work she does for her students in a significantly challenging environment. Many of Faleula’s students come from broken homes, speak little English and have little access to the internet. So much is her commitment that she has her students sit by her side and one by one she carries out their check-ins, translating for them when necessary.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

After I graduated from college, my aunt who was the principal then asked if I would teach at her school. I had a degree which was all I needed to teach. I wanted to help support my parents so I took the job!

Describe one moment that made you realise how special it is to be a teacher.

My students wanted to participate in the National History Day because if you win the island-wide competition, you fly to the other side of the world to compete nationwide. It was a dream for them. I believed in them. I studied the rules and regulations and helped the students know what they needed to prepare. It took a lot of research at the library and online and asking questions to the elderly who were familiar with that part of our local history, writing and rewriting, practice before school, during lunch and after school and weekends. Parents weren’t there physically but they permitted their children to come. I kept cheering for my students. They designed their own costumes and background and added cultural music to make it look more real. They won not only the school competition but the island-wide as well. They did not win nationwide because English is their second language but I was so proud of them. They needed someone to believe in them and I did.

Do you have a Skodel story for us? A moment where Skodel has helped you make a difference in a student/s life.

My students are juveniles. They come from broken homes and receive little or no support from families or friends. Rarely do they get the opportunity to use a device. I teach English. They are all English Second Language learners. I share my personal laptop with them so they can participate in Skodel. Skodel motivates my students to read, write, type and communicate. They work on their own and at their own pace with Skodel. Skodel makes them feel appreciated. Now they write to me and I believe it’s because of Skodel. They feel they are important individuals that can contribute to society!
Thank you, Faleula. There is something special about this story. The process of learning a language and learning about yourself neatly aligned side by side. A reminder to us all that language is not just a tool for communication with others, it is a tool to order our thoughts and express ourselves, a tool to help us navigate our way in this world.
Note: Faleula's students have been released during the island lockdown. They are without devices but she continues to teach by sending weekly physical packages to each of her students.