Ms. Andrea Gusukuma has been a preschool teacher throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Gusukuma lives in Kaimuki and currently teaches at St. Clements.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher because my mom was an elementary school teacher,” Gusukuma says.
Ms. Gusukuma started teaching immediately after graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and says that teaching has always been her goal.
However, there were problems getting there. Due to financial struggles, Ms. Gusukuma took some time off teaching and went to school for dental hygiene. After working in that field for about four years, she decided that it wasn’t what she really wanted to do.
“I missed working with the kids and realized that’s what I wanted to do, so I went back into education,” Gusukuma says.
St. Clements, like other schools around the world, has taken steps to keep students safe. The kids wear masks and face shields, and socially distance, class sizes are reduced, pick-up and recess times are staggered, and each child has their own supplies and plays with their own toys.
“The only thing is, kids don’t get to play with their classmates and develop social skills like problem-solving,” Gusukuma says.
Olivia Kang, the mother of one of Ms. Gusukuma’s students, trusts Ms. Gusukuma to keep her son Benjamin Kang safe.
“Benji’s happy,” Kang says. “He really likes going to school, he really likes his teachers and he always says he’s had a good day when I pick him up.”
Jennifer Endo, Ms. Gusukuma’s cousin, claims that Ms. Gusukuma is extremely passionate about her job, and prepared to do everything she can to keep her students safe.
“I think she does more than what’s necessary, a lot of the time with money out of her own pockets,” Endo says. “She loves her job; it’s the only thing she’s ever wanted to do since I’ve known her.”