Empowering Hawaiʻi's Educators: The Exciting Journey from Teacher to Club Advisor

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Last weekend, our high school club advisors and after-school global studies class teachers gathered with us for a full day of workshops and discussions at the East-West Center.  We had Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi island in the building! Our goal was to help teachers build pilina (relationships) and share best practices in advising PAAC clubs and teaching our global studies class. 

Under the guidance of our High School Global Education Program Director, Roya Dennis, the cohort of 16 educators explored strategies for student leadership development, learned about our new partnership with the local nonprofit organization Kanu Hawaiʻi, and dug into this year's theme- Japan and Peacebuilding. 

Brandt Kekoa Mabuni from Pacific Forum, shared his research on Japan's economic rise and the influence it has in the region. Due to the geopolitical dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region, and particularly East Asia, Japan’s role is central to maintaining and building peace.

Todd Wilson, of Kanu Hawai’i,  explained the new partnership with PAAC and Pledge for our Keiki. Our goal is to have clubs and classes sign the pledge and utilize Kanu’s vast volunteer network for this year’s Global Action Projects (GAP). Global issues have local reach and through this partnership students can plug into community work already underway while highlighting with their school or regional community the global reach or nexus of the issue being addressed in the community. 

What we learned from our teachers:

• Building relationships with students is critical to the success of the clubs and classes

• Student voice and choice is key and teachers really honor these principles

• Teachers love what they do and continue to develop new lessons for our clubs and classes

• Among the highlights was a session led by Shiloh Francis of Hawaiʻi Technology Academy on leadership development for clubs. She outlined the tools and methodologies crucial for cultivating the next generation of leaders.

Some key takeaways included:

• Flexibility in Leadership Roles: Encouraging fluidity in titles, such as comms, archivist, and historian, to suit the strengths of the individuals.

• Global Action Project (GAP) Manager Position: Newly introduced this year to ensure the responsibility of project management doesn’t solely lie on the Club Advisor and that these projects can be sustainably managed from year to year.

• Email Etiquette: The emphasis on building strong communication habits for club success, including responding to emails from PAAC within 36 hours.

• Club Officer Resource Management: Ensuring officers are not only aware of their roles but fully understand the expectations and duties associated with them.

Shiloh poignantly noted, "To shape the future, we must invest in our young leaders today, providing them not only with responsibilities but the tools to shoulder them."

Our gratitude goes out to our inspiring guest speakers, Brandt Mabuni from Pacific Forum and Todd Wilson from Kanu Hawaiʻi, both of whose insights helped energize the day. Our dedicated educators, who took time out from their families to participate in our retreat, also deserve a heartfelt mahalo. We understand the sacrifices made and deeply appreciate the commitment shown.

Reflecting on the day, one teacher commented, "When educators come together with a shared vision, the potential for transformative change is limitless."

The retreat was designed to inspire our PAAC teachers in their roles as club advisors and global studies instructors for the upcoming school year, and we think we achieved our goal. We can’t wait to see what sprouts from this past weekend’s day of growth and networking.