First Impressions

Tanzania is such a beautiful place. The people here are so kind and always humor us when we try to speak in Swahili. I am teaching at Assumption Primary School and I love it. When we met with the academic assistant Paul, he asked us which classes we wanted and I told him wherever was needed. Rather quickly, he said science and mathematics for standards two and four. I was very hesitant to agree, as these were the two subjects I had said I did not want to teach the night before we went to school. I reluctantly agreed, but as it turns out I often don’t teach those. We teach in whatever class we are asked to do or wherever a teacher is absent.

He showed us around the school and I was happy to see how nice it was. They had a library with books for the teachers to teach lessons out of and a computer lab for their computer classes. The school is not too large, so it wasn’t very intimidating. There are standards one through seven and also three classrooms for students who are not old enough yet to attend standard one, these are the “baby classes”. Molly and I finally went to check out the bathroom situation and were surprised to see it was literally a hole in the ground. Everything is so different here and it’s putting many things into perspective for me.

Our school is a Catholic school and majority of the teachers are young. We have the best time talking with and learning from them. Corporal punishment is popular in the schools, but I haven’t really seen any of it at Assumption. I’m realizing that a lot of the things they teach in school are things that are taught at home in America, or things that we would not teach to a certain age or really at all. My very first class I taught was on asexual and sexual reproduction to fourth graders, and it felt very awkward for me at first but I soon realized this was almost natural for them and it ended up going very well. I was so nervous to teach, but I’m realizing a lot about myself through it all. I’d never considered myself a super flexible person as I’m a big planner, but Assumption is quickly changing me. I have learned so much already in my few days here. If I had only one week in Tanzania it would be so depressing, but I would have learned enough to last me a lifetime (as cliché as that is). I’m excited to grow more as a person and an educator with the remainder of my time in this wonderful country.

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