Our typical day started with breakfast at 6:30am. For me, it was roll out of bed, put on my work skirt and grab by breakfast, some of which was finished in the van on the way to placement. The folks I shared a ride with got to share in the morning ritual of watching me brushing my teeth. We would work at placement from 7:30am to 12:30pm. In my school, I would arrive as the kids are walking in (anywhere from 3-5 kilometers away). We had sixty students at our school. Mr. Massawe is the only teacher, and he also acts as principal administrator and the kitchen manager - in addition to his other job as farmer. Usually, we would have about 40 students show up. Of course as Murphy's Law works, the majority of students would show up on the days that I did not have the help of my local volunteer! Students could be missing for weeks at a time for any given reason. They just have to jump back into the lesson when they decide to come back.
The lesson of the day starts around 8 or 8:30 - we start based on the position of the sun, so this time is variable. The main goal of a pre-school is to teach the children how to read and write. They learn in Kiswahili up to 6th grade. Then, if they pass the test to enter secondary school and have the support from their family, they begin English-speaking-only grade 7. Most students do not get that far in their education. My classroom, the group of 20-30 kids who were older, would learn letters and how to pronounce and write them. (Ex. da de di do du) Sometimes we would work with numbers. They knew 1-10 in English and could sing the alphabet in English, although somehow in Tanzania their version of the song repeats LMNOPQ twice. The kids would get their lesson and then write in their composition books. These books would run out of space after a while and since the parents could not afford to get their kids new ones, we would have to come up with creative ways to make more room. Many of the kids would write backwards or have trouble concentrating. Without the volunteers present, this problem is never addressed. By the time it is time for the kids to write in their books, Mr. Massawe has to leave the kids to teach the second classroom of the younger children (who are left unattended during the older children's lesson).
|Swing sets donated by former volunteers|