Like everything in Tanzania, the level of education someone can achieve usually depends on their parents’ income. Schools in Tanzania can’t be compared to schools in Europe or North America. Pre- and primary schools work differently than schools in your home county, with frontal teaching and monotonous copying from the blackboard being the norm. However, after class there is always time to play with the children and do some recreational work. The preschool and the primary school are in the same compound so that you have the flexibility to choose one project or switch between them both. In the preschool, 56 children are being taught by five teachers with the classes being divided into a baby class, a middle class, and a preparatory class. In the primary school, more than 60 pupils are taught by ten teachers. With the children divided into six classes, there is a good ratio of teachers to students. As a volunteer, you can step in whenever your help is needed and wherever you feel comfortable supporting the teacher’s daily routine. Please keep an open mind and remember that schools in Tanzania are run differently than in your home country. Things like corporal punishment and poorly equipped classrooms are normal. The language spoken in both schools is English, which all of the teachers speak fluently.
The schools are only a ten minute walk from the volunteer house. Usually work will start at around 8am and during your time at St Pius you will support the teachers in classes wherever it is they need you the most. The classes include English, Maths, History, Geography, Art, Social, Sports and Biology – all agreed with the headmaster. Support the teachers during lessons and make sure the children are listening and following what they are being taught. Some children may need intense individual support so if you want to, you can do some one on one teaching. The preschool finishes at 12:30pm and the primary school finishesat 3pm. Both have a 40 minute lunch break and in the afternoon, you can help either play with the children, help with their homework or even fix some things in and around the school. If you are interested, you can also engage in Swahili lessons from some of the students or prepare food for the students.
Your ideas are always welcome and we encourage you to let your creativity run free and take part in as much as you want to. The project is flexible and so it is up to you to decide if you work in the preschool, primary school or both and support them with your passion and knowledge.