This month I have had the opportunity to get an alternative perspective than the rest of the team, which is primarily comprised of individuals who are medically focused. My background is in education, so I was very excited to work with the school children as much as possible. The City of Hope school has over four-hundred students, ranging from ages 4-14. The students have a great advantage because they are taught English the whole way through their education. The public schools in Tanzania don’t teach English until secondary school, so by the time these students enter secondary school they are already able to speak it fluently. But the fact that the students at COH are taught English is only one of many things that sets the school apart. All you have to do is walk a mile down the road to see the vast differences between the COH school and the local public school, which is severely understaffed and lacks the strategic leadership that is present at the COH school. Truly, this school houses the future leaders of Tanzania. During one lesson we got on the topic of future dreams. I loved listening to students yell out (with great excitement) their dreams of being future doctors, pilots, and presidents. How amazing to be in environment where these dreams are cultivated and encouraged like they are here!
In my undergraduate education I opted to focus my teacher training on secondary school, but I think I would have concentrated on primary school if the children in America were more like they are here! In the classes that I have been able to observe and/or teach, I have noticed that the class time is reserved for teaching and learning and not simply managing bad behavior. What a novel idea! The first day that I taught an English class I called on an individual student by name to answer a question on the story we had read. I was caught of guard as the student promptly stood up to answer the question. Ha! I quickly realized this is what the students have been trained to do when they are asked questions directly. I know that’s a random example, but I think it serves to show how well these children are trained and how seriously they take their education. I can’t wait to hear about how these kids will grow up to change the world. I consider myself blessed simply to have been in their presence.
P.S. Many of the students who go to the school are not orphans at the COH compound, but are from the local community. Families have to pay roughly $1/month to be able to send their children to the school. As miniscule as this amount sounds, it is actually quite a stretch (an impossibility, really) for many families to afford. The COH is not in the business of turning students away, however, which is why they have a sponsorship program not only for the orphans who live here, but also for students who are in the community, so that they are also able to receive a great education. If you are feel God leading you to take part in this sponsorship program, please check out COH’s website (teamworkcityofhope.com) for more info!
Written by Christine