**Warning: this may shock some of you educators out there.**
This past Monday I got up and went to morning parade as usual. Various teachers made announcements, and then the headmistress addressed us saying that the president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, was in Mtwara to speak at a convention and the form 1, 3 and 5 students were to go see him (forms 2, 4 and 6 were not allowed to go because they are preparing for national exams in October). Since I am a form 3 teacher, I was required to go into town with the students. Consider it, if you will, a spur of the moment field trip. It really was not a problem. Sure, the students were going to miss math class for the day, but they were going to see the president. About this time I was wondering how the students were going to get to town (about 8 kilometers away). We have a school car, but it can only hold around 15 people. We had about 225 students going to town, not to mention accompanying teachers. The solution: the students will walk to town, and the teachers, getting a lift in the school car, would meet them there. Definitely not something that would happen in the US. I mean, where are the parent consent forms, the budget paperwork, the school buses and the chaperones, for crying out loud?! Just my luck, the school car was full and I had to walk all the way into town with the students. I really didn’t mind. Exercise is always nice, and I had some good chats with my students.
Like most things in Tanzania, the program started late and was quite boring once it started. I found a shady spot and sat there with another teacher. The students roamed about thankful for an opportunity to visit with students (especially males) from other local schools. Somehow I managed to miss hearing the president speak. I guess I was off in the land of updating my journal and filling in my new planner (thanks joce!). The program was over before I knew it. I walked with my girls all the way back to school; we split up once I reached my house. I’m guessing all the students made it back to the school that afternoon. I haven’t heard otherwise. After almost 2 years of teaching in Tanzania, I’m not sure if I would fair well in the world of scantrons that is the US school system.