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At the Hamamni Secondary school in Zanzibar, Tanzania Tasheka reflects during the beginning weeks of her time as the new biology teacher and how she has seen herself and most importantly, her students, grow throughout these six weeks of summer service.
Half way through my journey in Zanzibar and I cant believe how much has happened. I have been exposed to new foods, new people and a culture that I can confidently say is second to none. It was really difficult to find a specific theme to focus this blog on, but I think I finally have one. By the end of this post I hope that I would have brought my feelings across in the best way I know how. I have been teaching biology to a total of 127 form one students at the Hamamni Secondary school for 3 weeks now, and as I said in my first blog, it has been a challenge that I am willing to face. The Hamamni secondary school has a total of 10 form 1 classes, with 30 students in each class and only two biology teachers, so this means that this school was in desperate need for a biology teacher willing to teach some of the form 1 classes.
At the beginning of my time teaching biology, it was a learning process for both the students and myself. I learnt that I had to write certain words down as I said them because the pronunciation differed so much, while my students learnt that they needed to ask me to repeat something they did not understand due to my accent. I also learnt that every once in a while my biology lesson would go a bit off track and I would be teaching small amounts of English. As I got into the groove of teaching, I started my biology club, which has been going pretty well. At first I was a little confused as to why we weren’t in the biology lab, but I soon found out that there is a lab, but all the equipment are in boxes.
After finding this out, I became very determined to give these students a working lab by the end of my stay in Zanzibar, and after 2 weeks of planning and trying to organize the lab, I have hit a huge wall. There is no storage in the laboratory, no shelves, no drawers, nothing. For anyone who has been in a science lab knows that there cannot be a lab without some sort of storage space, to put the equipment until they are ready for use. I was very determined to get this lab up and running because I felt like my students really wanted a biology lab, and I was going to fight for it. I hoped that my determination to get this lab functioning would inspire my students.
This inspiration I hoped would give these students a drive to also fight for what they want and never to listen to the words “I can’t”, as I heard multiple times in my effort to set up this biology lab. I believe that if you show a passion for one thing, then it will be translated into another. And my goal was that this passion for a working biology lab would translate into a passion to be educated. In the end, I was not able to have a fully functioning biology lab at the Hamamni Secondary school, but what I did have were students who were determined to have a biology lab by the end of the school year. Being able to motivate these students is one of my biggest accomplishments in Zanzibar so far.