This is a pretty condensed list of the multitude of lessons I’ve learned here… I’m sure I forgot some. This has been a crazy, amazing, and wild ride, and while it is not over yet, we are beginning to experience the first “lasts” which causes a lot of reflection:
1.) Children who value the little things have a great ability to melt your heart.
2.) Love can be expressed through smiles, hugs, and high fives- no matter which language you speak.
3.) A bad lesson does not make you a bad teacher, it helps you to learn.
4.) When you have a rousing game of hangman where students get SO excited about winning, you can easily forget the frustration you had ten minutes ago when they would not “KEEP QUIET!”
5.) Sometimes it is ok to allow your students to let loose, go crazy, and sing a song… or five!
6.) A high five can make a student’s day, and the smile they get can make your day as well. Not to mention a secret handshake…
7.) Teaching English as a second language is very difficult (especially tenses), so spending more quality time to review and check for understanding is much more valuable than covering the most content possible.
8.) It is more important to mold to the students than to have the students mold to you (thank you, Sam!) Student understanding is so much more important than the latest teaching style.
9.) Student individuality is MUCH more important to me than complete silence– that’s so boring!!
10.) Sometimes shouting together as a class is a great measure to use in checking for understanding.
11.) No matter how much you practice your kiswahili, your students (and teachers) will always laugh at you.
12.) Dogs are not pets here… don’t pet them… if you plan on talking about your pet dog, expect to be swarmed and/or laughed at.
13.) Never plan on sticking to your lesson, be very flexible to the needs of your students.
14.) Only use immodium in the case of an extreme emergency, otherwise, just let it be.
15.) Being silly with students can be used to engage them and hold their attention!
16.) No matter how much you may want to throw a student out the window, it is usually not the right choice for their best learning.
17.) Teaching lessons on the fly is not impossible, sometimes they turn out to be the most fun!
18.) DO NOT GIVE OUT STICKERS AS A FREE FOR ALL. EVER.
19.) Continuing to review past concepts is very important and increases student understanding.
20.) 3rd graders love to tattle on each other.
21.) Animals brought to an alter at a Tanzanian church are not necessarily going to be sacrificed.
22.) “Soycle” is circle, “joose” is goose, and “jift” is gift
23.) “Rafiki” price always means “expensive price for white person,” but don’t worry, us mzungus can easily bargain the price of bracelets down to 1,000 shillings a piece. If they ask for 6,000 shillings… they’re mchizi (crazy)!
24.) Going to bed later than 10 pm is a precursor to a very struggle-some morning.
25.) One of the easiest ways to see God’s heart is to witness 50- 3rd grade students singing praises to Him.
26.) I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).