Last Friday, five local educators explored the theme of “Why I Teach” in front of a live audience at The Arts at Marks Garage. Through their personal narratives, we were reminded that teachers — in and out of the classroom — have a profound impact on our lives. 

Civil Beat’s Hawaii Storytellers featured Christina Torres and others talking about why they teach. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

This installment featured:

• Douglas Kiang, a computer science teacher at Punahou School, spoke about education beyond the “teachable moments” and the power of creating a community with his students.

• Keil Oberlander, a college and career preparedness teacher at Waianae High School, shared his story about connecting with young learners by valuing them as people first and foremost.

• Mahina Paishon-Duarte described three influential moments that shaped her understanding of her kuleana as a Native Hawaiian educator and now principal of Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School.

• Anne Weber, community manager at Impact Hub Honolulu and former teacher at Maili Elementary School, shared her lifelong journey of being an educator of Native American decent.

• Christina Torres, an english teacher at Punahou School, shared her personal struggle with mental health and how her students fuel her drive as an educator.

Our next Hawaii Storytellers event will be held in November on the theme of “How I Make Ends Meet,” where we’ll hear stories about how living in Hawaii requires sacrifice, grit and in some cases creative solutions.

If you know of someone who would be a fitting speaker or would like to participate yourself, please submit your story idea. Participating as a speaker is a great opportunity to share your story with the community and receive professional storytelling coaching.

Meanwhile, enjoy what our most recent storytellers had to say about “Why I Teach”:

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