Farrington workload wows guest teacher Cayetano
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano wound up his stint teaching politics at his alma mater, Farrington High School, last week with a new appreciation of the challenges facing teachers and students.
"These teachers have tremendous workloads," said Cayetano, who faced a three-week strike by public school teachers while he was governor. And so do the kids, who work part time to help support their families, he said.
"Almost all the kids work -- and they work out of necessity," he said. "I had a kid who works 30 hours a week in Waikiki. He came to class sleepy."
Cayetano, 66, shared teaching duties for the "Political Processes" course with Farrington's Social Studies Department chairwoman, Nichole Field. The class, which ended Friday, met every day for about an hour an a half, and Cayetano came in three days a week.
"The kids are polite," he said. "My big challenge was to get them to open up." He used the Socratic method, trying to draw the students out, as well as essay exams.
Farrington Principal Catherine Payne said the course gave students a taste of what it would be like in college. "It took a while for them to not be so intimidated and to talk," she said. "It was challenging for them. I think he learned a lot and they learned a lot, and that was the whole idea."
Cayetano said the experience inspired him to set aside one of the scholarships the Cayetano Foundation gives each year for a Farrington student. The fund, administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation, supports four students annually with four-year college scholarships worth $2,000 a year.
"Until you get into the classroom and actually deal with the students, you don't really understand what these kids are going through," he said. "Frankly, I think every legislator should go and teach a semester or something."