Lasting Impressions

As I sit here contemplating the experiences I have had and the lessons I have learned while in Tanzania, I find myself in the same tough situation as my last blog post, What I Have Learned so Far. It is still hard to really grasp all that this trip has given me while I am still here and it hasn’t yet sunken in that I have already taught my last lesson at Arusha Primary School (holding back a tear at that thought). Nonetheless, I know without a doubt that I have become a better person and a better educator through this experience. Living in a community composed of a culture different than mine own has forced me to conform to their culture, rather than accommodating for a culture integrated into my own. This has immediately changed my perspective on other cultures. Coming from a background with very little diverse cultural experiences, I have learned to appreciate, value, and want to learn more about other cultures.
This completely unique experience has given me tools and strategies to better teach ELL students, as well as diverse students. I have learned how to teach with more explicit language and also what lesson planning for a long period looks like and what it entails. In addition, learning to work with faculty and colleagues of a different schedule, work ethic, and views on education has also been a great learning experience which I can take with me to any position I acquire in the United States.
One particular thing I have learned about myself trough this experience teaching is that I tend to go on tangents during my lesson. While I teach, I think of more and more tools I want to give my students and what to teach them. I need to remember that I am not their only teacher and that they will learn other tools on their own time. I must stick to my lesson and the tools which apply to that.
I have also learned so much about Africa in General. I have seen the city, village, and country. I have seen the people, markets, and businesses. I have interacted with people in different situations and it has all given me a fresh perspective on it. The land, it’s people, and everything else is so beautiful. The people live a simple life that I wish we could learn from in the states. I have learned to love this country and everything in it. After being in a land halfway around the world (close enough), I feel as if I have seen every other place in between. I am so extremely grateful for this experience and all I have gained because of it. I am not ready to leave yet. Two more weeks would be perfect. This whole experience, and especially my sweet students, will always hold a special place in my heart. If I am ever fortunate enough to return, until next time, kwa heri (goodbye).


About rachelwehner

Hello! My name is Rachel and I just finished my third year of college. I am a senior at Grand Valley State University and I am majoring in Elementary Education and Mathematics. In the fall of 2013 I took a leap of faith and decided to apply to a study abroad program to go and teach at a school in Tanzania, Africa. Next thing you know, I am packing my bags, ready to fly halfway around the world. Follow me along on this blog to hear of my experiences and adventures I encounter along the way of this incredible and once-in-a-lifetime journey!
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