The 2006 school year is nearly over in Tanzania as well as in Australia. The School of St Jude has had its final assembly before the summer holidays.
With nine teachers and office staff leaving at the end of the year, Friday's assembly was big and emotional with some tears shed by both staff and students. Many of the classes did farewell songs and dances for the teachers and those who were leaving made speeches about how the school has changed them.
At any point in time there can be around 24 volunteers working at the school. These fantastic people help to keep the school running.
As well as teaching classes and running the office, volunteers help the local teachers to expand their teaching skills beyond the basic ‘chalk and talk’ methods that are the focus of teacher education in Tanzania.
Here is a revision game that Mandy has demonstrated to the teaching staff.
Mandy came to the school for a quick visit in 2005 and used her great teaching tools with the classes. This was so successful that Gemma encouraged her to return this year for three months to continue her lessons. She has shown the Tanzanian teachers some ways that the children can have organised fun in the classroom while learning.
The game is used at the end of a lesson for revsion. When a student’s counter falls on a number with a gold star, he or she has to answer a question correctly before advancing on the board. The kids love it; they are learning in a fun atmosphere and the teacher has a happy, focussed class - it’s winners all round!
Mr Andrew has the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ version – if you don’t want to slide backwards down the snake or you want to take an advantage by climbing the ladder, get the question right!
With so many volunteers at the school, there is a high level of staff turnover. This would be regarded as a problem in an Australian school, but in Tanzania the benefits far outweigh the work of managing the turnover.