What have I learned? How has it my life changed? My lasting impressions…
Has it sunk in that I may never go back? That I may never see any of the amazing people that I met ever again… We’ve been back less than a week, and my life here has kind of taken over already. I remember all of the things that we did, and how much I loved every minute of it, but I haven’t been able to make sense of it yet. I know that I have learned so much, and that my life is changed forever but to put that into words is not something I can really do yet. I learned so much about being a teacher, about the students that I worked with, about the teachers that we taught with, and about the people of Tanzania.
As a future teacher, this trip gave me an experience I would probably never have in student teaching. To go halfway around the world teach in a place where we are the minority is something that everyone should experience. I think that this is going to help me in the future, to relate to all of the students in my classroom, and to motivate myself to stay culturally aware. While we were in English medium schools, the examples that the students used and the stories that they shared were all new to me. I was learning from them while they were learning from me. I learned to think on my feet, and manipulate lesson plans on the fly. But, one of the biggest challenges that I faced was classroom management. The struggles that I had with classroom management not only motivates me to learn more techniques to handle it, but also makes me more confident as a teacher.
The students that we were working with were so loving and welcoming. Even when we struggled in the classroom and I had to yell at them….during break time later that day they were running up to me and wanting to play or have a conversation. They were excited to see us every day, and always had a million questions.
One of the main things that I will always remember about Tanzania is the people. Never in my life have I met such friendly people. People who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and will walk and have a conversation with you for 5 blocks when you just met. They will do anything to help you, and everyone says “Hi” to you on the street. While it’s not something I am accustomed to, and I don’t know if I ever fully opened up to it, it was very enlightening to see that an entire community of people welcome you and are excited to share their world with you.