Saying I have learned a lot is a complete understatement. I am struggling to put into words everything that I have learned since being here. I feel that when I get home and maybe when my student teaching semester begins I will truly realize how much I have learned and taken away from my experience. I have learned the most from teaching at my school and from every Tanzanian I have met so far.
I have learned so much teaching at Tetra Lutheran Primary School. I have learned from my teacher, my students, and even students who I do not teach. Beginning with my teacher, Mr. Stewert Moshi, I have learned the importance of being happy with the career you are in. We recently had a discussion on how unfortunate it is when people only work for the reward of money instead of internal joy and happiness. He has helped me rediscover my passion for teaching and why I am studying to be a teacher (for the pure joy I get when a student learns something new). My students have taught me how much I take for granted back home. When my pencil breaks I sharpen it, if their pencil breaks they pull out a knife to carve it sharp. If my pen runs out of ink I grab a new one, while they rip open the top of their pen blow the ink towards the tip. When I get an unimportant handout I will toss it in the garbage/recycling bin, while my students will cover every bit of paper they find (even candy wrappers) with their work. My students, in comparison to American students, have so little, yet are the happiest children I have ever been lucky enough to be surrounded by (see attached picture as a reference) 🙂
Being on the outside of America, I have begun to see some truth behind the classic American stereotypes, like how impatient and stressed/unhappy we can be. Being here has taught me to relax, take a deep breath, and not take everything that doesn’t go our way so seriously. There is no need to stress over the little things in life, like many of us (Americans) do. When that red light (that never seems to turn green) stops us, there is no need to get frustrated (which I am undoubtedly guilty of) because there are so many important issues/challenges in life to stress over. Like, how am I going to teach anything to a child who does not know a word in English? This seems a little corny but our time on earth is not endless and the Tanzanians have taught me the necessity of stressing less and spreading happiness. Hamna Shida (no worries) is the new motto I plan to live my life by.