Things I have learned so farPosted: May 20, 2013
I have learned so much on this trip so far! The first thing I have learned is mostly about myself as a teacher and how I want my classroom to be structured. I have learned how important I feel that group work and discussions are. It has been very hard on me to plan lessons here and follow through on them because my teachers have been telling me exactly what they want me to do, almost step by step, and every time I have tried to incorporate some sort of group work or collaboration they have intervened and asked the kids to work on their own. I have also learned a lot about how much I want my students to feel safe and comfortable in my classroom. I have really been taken aback a couple times having the students ask me if I would like a stick (as in to hit them with) and every time I have respond by basically saying no, under no circumstances would I ever hit them. It is just very strange and eyeopening to have a child offer you a tool that they know is used to hurt them and their fellow classmates.
Next, I have learned a lot about the african culture and environment here in Arusha. It is very strange for me now to look back at how things are in America in terms of clothing and the way people present themselves in relation to how people present themselves here. Africa is definitely a lot more reserved than America and honestly, it is very refreshing to see people dressed modestly and respectfully while out in public. In terms of culture, I have learned that i really do not care for curry! Most of my meals here have consisted of rice, rice, and some more rice. I have tried a lot of the different foods here and have really enjoyed most of them, especially the ice cream! The environment here in Arusha is also extremely fast paced which is a bit of a culture shock for me. I would relate the driving here to that of downtown Chicago with cars speeding and horns honking everywhere! This kind of city atmosphere is definitely something that I am not used to coming from Traverse City, Michigan.
Lastly, I have learned a lot about myself as an individual. Typically, I am very shy and keep to myself but this experience has really forced me to come out of my comfort zone in so many different ways. All of the kind and outgoing people here have done nothing but encourage me and have helped me grow and learn so much. All of their outgoing personalities have helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin and with who I am both of which I could not be more grateful for. This trip really has been the experience of a lifetime!