Brother Humphrey…81 not out

At 81-years-young, a glance at Brother Humphrey O’Connor’s eyes reveals that despite of his age, the man still has preserved the sparkle of his youth which inspired many young Samoans over the last decades to make something out of their lives.

“I’ve been teaching for 61 years now, and I am still enjoying it,” he says with a smile on his face.

While having started again to teach primary students at Marist Brothers Primary School in Mulivai, Samoa since this March, the experienced lecturer has taught many different subjects throughout his career.

Having first visited Samoa only a few days after its independence from New Zealand as a 27-years old, Humphrey has been a teacher his whole life long.

“I taught English, Religious Education, Music, Geography and a very good subject called Commercial Practice,” he says.

“I’ve taught at St. Joseph’s College here in Mulivai from 1962 to 1967 and I’ve been teaching in every year since, except for the last five years in which I was looking after some of our older brothers, but I’ve done a little bit of help for boys with reading difficulties during that time.”

During all these years of teaching, Humphrey has seen many young faces in his classrooms.

Some have gone on to take on leading roles in the development of Samoa as an independent Pacific island nation – including the current Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

Other stations of his academic life as a teacher include many years of lecturing at different facilities New Zealand but also a short stay in the Philippines, where Humphrey taught English to other Marist brothers.

“The other brothers always often tell me I should not work too hard because I am so old now,” he says.”But I am only teaching in the morning, and it’s still enjoyable for me.”




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News category: Asia Pacific.

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