Arusha Meru is a very small private school with only one class per grade. Since it is an international school, about 75% of the students are Indian and the rest are Tanzanian with a few other students from other countries such as China, France, DRC, and Kenya.
The primary school goes from preschool to 7th grade and the secondary school has six classes. The teaching system in Tanzania names their grades differently than the US does. Students start school when they are 2 or 3 and start in junior class, then senior, prep, and then 1 through 7. Classes junior through 2 have the same teacher through out the whole day and leave school at 12:45 pm. Classes 3 through 7 stay in the same classroom and the teachers move rooms through out the day. Periods last forty minutes, there are nine periods a day, and students go home at 2:50 pm.
In Tanzania many teachers rely on the “chalk and talk” method where they write on the chalkboard and students copy down the writing in their notebooks. Students are given homework daily. Most students have books and most students have supplies that they bring from home. The school itself does not have many supplies and the power goes out occasionally. The primary school does have one desktop computer, one laptop, one projector, and one printer. The secondary school is larger and has more computers and supplies.
My students are amazing! I mostly teach Standard 6 but I also fill in for other teachers in Standards 3, 4, and 5. I also help out Katie and Kathryn in Standards 1 and 2. Many students have behavioral problems and classroom management is an issue in many of the classrooms. Despite this, the students are eager to learn and enjoy having new teachers in their class.
The teachers are also a blessing. Although some can be apprehensive, most are very welcoming and very helpful. I love being able to interact with people from various cultural backgrounds. One of the teachers took us to church with her and another is going to do henna for us next week! Even when I am not teaching, I am learning so much from these amazing individuals.