I will do this as a list because I love lists and it’s fun to read as well!
1. Here in Tanzania, you have more rafikis (friends) than you though you had, even in town!
2. That “tea time” really does exist in other countries and it is a great time to get to know your teachers or hang out with the kids.
3. In America students write in their notebooks, here students write in their exercise book and are totally lost if you say notebook.
4. Stickers, when handled appropriately, are a teacher’s greatest teaching tool for a quiet class to get them to answer more questions and become more engaged. If not handled appropriately, the students get totally out of control.
5. Sixth graders aren’t as scary as I thought. In fact, they are a wonderful group of kids that I am happy to teach everyday.
6. Trying to manage 50 students in one classroom is a hard but rewarding challenge.
7. While Purell hand sanitizer is amazing for travelling from place to place, baby wipes are invaluable for actually cleaning your hands when they are covered in chalk.
8. Bring your own duster (chalkboard eraser) and some colored chalk. The duster will help immensely because they are hard to come by and colored chalk helps highlight certain things you want the students to pay attention to and it’s far more engaging to look at instead of just white chalk.
9. If you are lucky, you can have your students take you to where they sell candy in the school and buy some when you are having a sweet tooth attack.
10. A group of seven teachers can finish off a bottle of ketchup during one meal.
11. Macaroni and cheese doesn’t exist in Tanzania and that most Tanzanians rarely ever eat cheese.
12. Diet coke in other countries does not taste like the diet coke that I have at home.
13. How to barter effectively to get some awesome souvenirs at a fair price and when it is best to simply say ‘hapana asante’ and walk away.
14. That I can do anything, such as climb Mount Kilimanjaro, if I am stubborn enough.
15. Everything is relative.
Also, that a group of strangers can become good friends in a short period of time. I have gotten such wonderful advice and help whether I am homesick or writing my lesson plans. I am so thankful that I was accepted in the program and I met this wonderful group of people. Thank you guys for everything!