Being away from the schools for four days during safari was the perfect amount of time to reflect on our experience thus far and get excited to go back. Whenever my mind strayed on safari, I was thinking about different ways to teach my students and possible activities for upcoming lessons. My students are always in the back of my mind; I will always be thinking about how I can make my explanations better for them and also how I can bring exciting and innovative ideas into the classroom. It’s been difficult to find a good balance between teaching the way I am used to in America and teaching in a way that is familiar to Tanzanian students. That is to say, finding a balance between being interactive/student-centered and traditional/teacher-centered.
When we got to school that Wednesday morning, all the students and teachers were excited to see that we had come back. Feelings of joy and gratitude were expressed all around, by students and teachers, and those feelings were definitely mutual. I had told my students before the weekend that I would be gone on safari for the beginning of the following week, so when I got back, they were eager to hear all about it. They wanted to know what the weather was like and what kind of animals we saw. The teachers were equally excited to hear about our experiences on safari. Some of the Form III students mentioned that the school is taking a group trip to the Serengeti next fall.
The first lessons back at school went smoothly and felt much more comfortable than the first week. I am slowly getting to know the students as they get to know me. It is also helpful to become more familiar with the way school is conducted on a regular basis here and what the students already know. It is becoming easier to find different ways to overcome the language barrier that is often present with a good portion of the students. I cannot wait to continue to work with the students and enjoy the rest of our time here in Tanzania. We’re practically half way done! It’s more important than ever to enjoy every day to it’s fullest.