Monday, July 16th
Our first day of workshops at Shiston Secondary School in Leguruki Ward in Tanzania passed in a flurry of smiling faces, discussion and plans for the week. My star moments were when I was able to reconnect with teachers that I had met last year. Teachers were from the five secondary schools in the ward: Shiston, Leguruki, Maruvango, Mirini and Nkoasenga. The morning started with questions that would guide the discussions for our week. Groups were assigned a starting place then rotated through the questions agreeing with previous answers and adding new information. Groups returned to their original question and chose the top three answers. The questions and answers are as follows.
#1. What is something you are proud of in your teaching?
#2. What are the challenges that you face in your school or classroom?
#3. Define student success.
#4. What are some key components of a lesson?
#5. What are the qualities of a good school?
#6. What are the qualities of a good teacher?
#7. How do you evaluate your students?
#8. What are the challenges that your students face that impact their learning?
What I found most interesting about the questions and answers is that teachers everywhere face some of the same difficulties. We all try to find ways to support our students and make changes in our classrooms to positively influence the learning outcome of the students we work with. In our workshops we strive to share ideas and find ways to overcome the difficulties that teachers face. Our week will continue with two days of collaborative workshops and two days of inquiry workshops.
After wrapping up our workshop day we drove to nearby Mbaseeny Primary School were we are staying. The accommodations are basic but comfortable. We are sharing a room outfitted with safari cots, mattresses, sleeping bags and mosquito nets. We have a common area for meetings and meals. The day was beautiful and the view of Mount Killamanjaro was spectacular. We took full advantage of our free time to read, relax and practice yoga. At our evening debrief we discussed the many stars, great moments, and wishes from the day.
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