Lasting Impressions

For some people it might be easy to still be sitting in Africa and talk about what will be a lasting impression. I, however, tend to remember the fact that I have no idea what the future holds and therefore have no idea what will be my truly lasting impressions. Also just a fair warning this will be a very jumpy post because I am writing it as random times.

However I think it is safe to say that one lasting impression will be to never completely shut the bathroom door in Africa. This may sound a bit strange but after getting stuck in not one, not two, but four different bathrooms it is safe to say I learned my lesson. The thing that makes it even worse is that it wasn’t the same bathroom; in fact each time was a different bathroom, sometimes in different towns. I know that isn’t the most profound lasting impression but there it is.

Most of you don’t know this but I have very little teaching experience. I have not done my teacher assisting. The most time I have spent in the classroom was this past semester when I assisted with a physics lab. With that in mind this trip was a bit terrifying for me because I knew I was going to be expected to teach almost everyday for four weeks. I have always worried that I was going to make a terrible teacher; that the smallest thing I did was going to ruin my students’ life or love for learning. I’m going to let you in on secret; one of the best ways to get over that fear is to teach your first lesson without any preparation. I’m not saying just teach a lesson without any preparation but have your first lesson EVER be without any preparation because you didn’t know you were going to have to teach until five seconds before the class started. After the past few weeks one thing has become perfectly clear to me: I will not be detrimental to my future students.

During the past three weeks I had a total of three different classes that I thought: form 2 math, form 2 physics, and form 1 physics. The most I spent with one group of kids in a day was two hours, most days was less than that. That means I only spent a maximum of 40 hours of my entire trip with my students from one class. But that was all it took. I am hooked. These 60 some students that I had the privilege to teach during my short time here will always have a special place with me. They helped me face my fears and start the long journey toward becoming the teacher I hope to be one day. They have helped me realize that I can do this and that I do in fact want to be a teacher for the rest of my life. Even though my time with them has been short, they have wiggled and giggled their way into my heart and I am not ready to say kwa herini to them tomorrow.

I knew from the beginning that this trip was going to be life changing and I still don’t fully realize how much. I’ve done everything from making protractor for them in case they didn’t have any, to climbing a mountain, to figuring out how to handle my teaching have feelings for me. This trip has been beyond my imagination and I can’t wait to bring what I’ve learned into my classroom back home.

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