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I started off my introducing my name and having them repeat it."Rudia, Miss Barbara” In Swahili, they do not pronounce R’s the way that we do so it comes out Miss Balabala. I could not help but giggle, and make them say it again. Needless to say, this has also become my nickname around here, another to add to the list! I am teaching out of a text book, so I had them open to the page and follow along to a story I was going to read to them. I read the story, and then asked if they had any questions, "swali?” They all basically just looked at me…. SO I moved on to vocab. I wrote the words on the board, explained them and had them say the words out loud. Then they were to complete an exercise in their textbooks.
It is very difficult to know if I am getting through to the students or not. In the schools here they do a lot of rote learning, aka repeat after me. So many times they will just repeat what I am saying, so I don’t know if they are understanding what I am saying or just repeating what they heard. It is also hard with the language barrier. I want them to understand the concept, so it is hard for me to help them with that because they barely understand what I am saying. So, it can be frustrating at times because I want to teach them to the best of my ability.
It is also difficult because of the amount of students and the lack of resources. There are about 60 kids in the class and they share about 5 books. So each task takes a long time for them to complete. I didn’t get through the entire lesson today, so I am going to be continuing it tomorrow. I also did a lot of grading today. I graded their English exercises and math problems, which was A LOT of grading, but I was glad to have something to do. Overall, I would say today was better than yesterday and I’m sure it will continue to get better.
During the kids break, we taught the students some American songs, such as, “itsy bitsy spider, head shoulders knees and toes, and the Macarena”. They loved it. The Macarena was the favorite. We had to do it over and over for them. It was so worth it to see them smile and laugh (even it was at us). It was funny to see them in a circle around us again. Break time is becoming one of my favorite times of the day, because I just love interacting with them in the fun atmosphere.
As I teach a lesson, I have noticed I get a “lesson” taught to me as well. Today, was how gracious and service oriented Tanzanian’s are. Example, throughout the entire day we noticed all the students kept moving our bikes, and we couldn’t figure out why. Then we realized, every time our bikes were in the sun, the students moved them so they wouldn’t burn us when we got back on. Even though it was such a simple action, for them to think to do that for us was just so gracious. It’s kind of hard to explain what I was feeling when I realized what they were doing but I just realize more and more that these people have so little yet they never think of themselves first. Wow.
I have been back here for awhile now, the bike ride home was just a little bit hot (lolsarcasm) so we came back and jumped in the water for a bit. Then we had class for about two hours. We have a little break then it will be dinner time and back to homework, Wahoo!!
Anyways, this is experience is still as amazing as ever, which I will probably say everyday haha. Can’t wait to share more stories!
LOVE YOU ALL.