A Day in a School in Tanzania…

A Day in a School in Tanzania…

By Shao-Yun Guo

Shao-Yun Guo, a current MSED student, describes his experience at a primary school in Tanzania this past summer.


I visited a primary school in the countryside of Tanzania. Students left their shoes by the door of the school because they did not want to dirty the interior of the school with their muddy feet. The children wore clothing that looked similar to clothing I would find in American schools: a Spider-Man shirt, a Philadelphia Flyers jersey, a soccer shirt, pink and red attire. I learned that they wear the same clothing every day. 

The morning time started with math for an hour and then English for an hour. For English, we learned the difference between “over here” and “over there.” The class was taught through drilling and each student came up to the front of the classroom and was tested. We then had recess and all the students went outside to run around, play soccer, and socialize. I picked up little kids and gave them piggy-back rides and taught them some wrestling moves. There was a barn nearby and a pig was being disciplined, so the kids all went to look at the pig and hear it snort. We then went back to class and learned some more English and then had nap time. Nap time was my favorite part as I was exhausted from recess. 
At lunchtime, we all went outside and two giant pots of porridge were brought out. I was asked to be a pourer of porridge. Each student was given a 12-ounce cup of porridge and a piece of bread. This was their meal every day. Then the students had Swahili class which was also learning through drills.

Before I went back to the city, I noted some observations. The students all seemed really disciplined. They were loud, for sure, but they respected the teacher and the school. They did normal things for their age, like picking on each other and horsing around, but I felt a collective joy in the school. The students loved learning in the school. To all the kids, this school was a gift that was given them. These students were selected to be part of this school because they were from the poorest of the poor neighborhoods in Tanzania. They were learning English, which was described as the “key to success” for a kid in Tanzania. I loved being in this school. It had an old-school feel, like being in a Quaker school in the 1700s.

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