Japanese teachers give and take in Samoa

Two Japanese volunteer teachers are enjoying their classroom interactions with their students.

They say the experience is a two way street since they are imparting knowledge and in return the students and Samoan schools are teaching them things they never knew before.

The 37-year-old, Api Naomich, and her 28-year-old colleague, Tomoko Tanaka, have both been teaching in Samoa for close to five years, but at different schools in Upolu.

Mr. Naomichhas has been teaching at Moata'a Primary School for the last eight months while Ms. Tanaka teaches maths and science at the Falelatai Primary School.

"I teach maths subject from Year 4 to year 8 and it's a great experience for me," he told Samoa Observer.

Mr. Naomich said he likes teaching Samoan students because they are funny.

He enjoys interacting with his students and learning more about Samoa every day.

"They are so funny," he added.

A month ago the Moata'a Primary School hosted a culture day, where Mr. Naomich said he had the opportunity to see Samoan traditional practices such as the umu (Samoan way of cooking food using hot stones).

"Watching the students doing the coconut cream was great, seeing how the umu was done has been the best experience for me," he said.

For Ms. Tanaka, her classroom experience with the local children is the best part of her life as a teacher. 

"Seeing the kids having fun is a great joy," she said. "I also enjoy seeing how they interact with their Samoan teachers. It's a great learning experience for me."

While there are communication difficulties with the students finding it difficult to grasp the English language, her ability to communicate in Samoan with the students has also been a hurdle.

Despite their challenges with the local language, the two Japanese teachers said they love what they are doing and will cherish their experiences interacting with their students.

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