Back to School

After the long weekend on safari, it was good to get back into the routine of school. I feel like my 6th graders are finally starting to like me! The first couple days of teaching they wanted to impress me, but were still unsure about me. Now they see me as more of a teacher and actually listen to me, so managing the class is a lot easier which makes teaching easier. They ask me if I’ll teach their classes and they actually want to talk to me outside of class! As I gain their trust, it’s easier for me to give them more student centered tasks.

The teaching style in Tanzania is different than what I am used to. A lot of teaching here is done in a “chalk and talk” style where teachers write on the board and students copy it down. There isn’t always a lot of room for student input or for hands on or student centered activities. Because of this, students don’t really know how to act when given freedom during class. The first couple days of teaching it was very chaotic, but now students are able to do more independent activities which is very rewarding for both the students and myself. The teachers are also accustomed to this teaching method, so sometimes when I do something that they aren’t used to it catches them off guard.

For the week and a half that I have been teaching here, I have only been teaching one or two (occasionally three) lessons a day. The rest of the day I help other students from my program with their classrooms or I talk with the headmaster of the school. Today I met with a teacher from the secondary school about taking over some of her classes for next week. Two years ago she taught here through this program and she now lives here and teaches science for 8th and 9th grades. Next week I will be teaching five of her classes and I’m really excited to actually be teaching most of the day and to be teaching science!

Tomorrow morning we’re leaving to do a day of Kilimanjaro and on Sunday I’ll be going to church with one of my teachers. We’ll also be playing a soccer game against our safari drivers from last week. I’m very excited for all of it! I miss home but I also never want to leave and it makes me sad that we’re past the halfway point.

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