Thursday, June 26, 2008

Getting To Know My Students

Getting to know each and every one of their students is arguably the most important things a teacher can do. I decided that I would have my students answer a few questions for me so that I knew a little bit about them. I figured that many of you would like to know about the students as well, so I have decided to post a few of their "profiles" to my blog. Below is Bill, and Alice. Enjoy!

Name: Bill Silito Chao
Age: 10
Grade: 3rd
What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite is math because I want to be a doctor.
What is your favorite color?
My favorite is blue.
What do you do during your free time?
I spend my free time reading.
What is your favorite food?
Chips and Sodce. (Chips are french fries and I have no idea what Sodce is)
If you could travel any where in the world, where would you travel?
I would travel to USA because I want to see how the car are going but I want to see good cars.
What is your biggest feqr and why?
My biggest fear is HIV because I dont want it.
What is your favorite animal?
How old do you think Mr. Matthew is?
Mr. Matthew is 24 years old. (I am actually 21)

Name: Alice Godson

Age: 8

Grade: 3rd

What is your favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject is science because I want to be a doctor.

What do you do during your free time?

I play netball. (Basketball)

What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is pink.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is chips with hen and also pizza. (Chips and hen is french fries and chicken)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel?

I would travel to Japan and America

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is a fox

What is your favorite animal?

My favorite animal is a rabbit.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When I came to St. Margaret's Academy, I figured I would only be teaching the children. To my surprise, a large amount of my time has been spent instructing the other teachers how to use computers.

A man by the name of Chuck Follen, of Minneapolis Minnesota, has donated 14 laptop computers to St. Margaret's Academy through Friends of Africa Education which is a non-profit organization, based out of Minnesota, that has helped St. Margaret's become what it is today.

Until now, all of the teachers had been creating their lesson plans, quizes, exams, and homework assignments by hand. Now, with the help of these laptops, they will be able to spend more time teaching and focusing on the students needs and less time writing everything out by hand.

Yesterday was a big day for all of them. Mama Tesha came to school with a computer bag for each laptop which will allow them to bring thier computers home with them when they are swamped with work. When the annoucement was made that they were allowed to bring the computers home, it was like watching a little kid opening presents on Christmas morning. Each of them had smiles from ear to ear. They have been incredibly thankful and are eager to learn as much as they can.

This experience has remined me of how lucky most of us are in the United States. I have taken for granted the fact that I have been learning how to use a computer since I was in elementary school. I am incredibly happy for all of them and I hope it will allow them to spend more time focusing on each individual student and less time sitting at a desk writing each and everything out by hand.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Greatings from Tanzania! I have been in Arusha for one week now and I am loving it. I arrived to the city of Arusha last friday after a long bus ride from Dar es Salaam (11 hours!). I was greated at the bus station by Mama Tesha, who is the founder of St. Margaret's Academy.

I am staying at Mama Tesha's home which is very nice. I have my own room with a bed large enough to sleep an entire family. Mama and her family are taking great care of me, and it has been fun playing soccer and coloring with by little brother Abba who is in second grade.

Over the weekend, we attended a going away picnic for some other Americans that had been here for the past few weeks. One of the families was the Stets from Northfield, so it was fun to see some familiar faces.

Mondy was my first day at St. Margaret's Academy. I was introduced to all the students and staff and given a tour of the school grounds. St. Margarets is located about 8-10 miles out of the city of Arusha in Kisongo, a village surrounded by farms and the Masaai people. On tuesday I began teaching. I am teaching 3rd grade science which is a lot of fun. We are currently doing a unit on weather changes, and farming. Next week we will be going outside to look for some African critters to inspect. I am not sure what we will find, but I am sure they will not be creatures that could be found in the school yards of Minnesota.

Adapting to the time zone and culture was initially very hard, but by now I am used to it. Dealing with the language barrier has also been difficult, but I am lucky because Mama Tesha and everyone at the school speaks English, including all the students. I am trying to learn as much Swahili as I can, but it is coming slowly.

Thanks again to all of you that have supported me. Without your help this trip would not have been possible. Internet access is not that easy to find, but I hope to make another post soon.