This trip has taught me so much. When I think of my time here, three groups of people who have taught me sometime come to mind: my students, the people and the teachers.
My students.. oh where do I start? What I’ve learned most about my students is that they really aren’t much different than students at home. At first they were extremely well behaved, but as soon as the teacher turned the class over to me they started testing my limits. Just like any students they like to goof around and they get off track at times. However, just like at home, I’ve learned that relationships are key to managing behavior. As I spend more time with the students getting to know them, I can see their respect for me growing. I strive to show them that I care about them, because I truly believe, whether here or at home, students don’t care what you know until they know that you care. My students love to have fun and they love to learn. Sometimes they misbehave and I get a little frustrated, but they always have a way of making up for it and in the end the good outweighs the bad.
The friendliness of the people here has surprised me a lot. It isn’t possible to walk down the street without being greeted with a friendly “Jambo!” I feel like at home this needs to happen a little more. Everyone gets so caught up in their lives that they forget to acknowledge those around them. A simple “hello” to a passing stranger can do so much. The people here have made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. I feel more welcomed by these strangers in another country, than I do by the people I encounter at home. When I get home I am going to strive to be as friendly as the people I have met here in Tanzania.
On Monday we went to the Monduli Teacher’s College. It was a great experience to learn more about teacher education in Tanzania. We got to talk with some of the professors and spend some time asking students questions. It was cool to compare our teaching program to theirs. Just like the students, I learned that the teachers here aren’t much different than us, they are people who want to make a difference and have a passion for teaching.