Threshing Grass, Playing Volleyball, And Worshiping God: Part 3/3 Of My Tanzanian Village School

This is the last in a three-part series about my African village school. Next week, we dive into the village itself.  *** Just before dinnertime, I opened the squeaky metal gate to leave the teacher’s housing compound. I looked straight out and then stared at thirty students before me swinging threshers into the tall grass. Each…
Read More

My Tanzanian Village School: Lunch And Lectures

As the morning of my first day at my village school came to a close, I was back in my room sitting at my simple wooden table and chair. I was writing about my arrival to Tanzania when Mama Diana called out to me. “Blandun!” “Yeah?!” “Food fo’ you!” “Thank you!” (Or after being here…
Read More

I’ve Moved To Africa: The Start Of A New Adventure

So far I’ve seen a zebra alongside the road like I would a deer in Minnesota, heard a goat crying in the morning the way I would a rooster, and enjoyed my first “bucket shower”. For now, I’ll introduce you to why I’m here in the first place and look ahead to the posts to…
Read More

A School Without Computers

As you may have read earlier this month, I was asked to help a school in Tanzania, Africa raise money for computers. I met the founder of the school, Evaristo Sanga, about a year ago and spoke with him about how I could help out. The short, stocky Tanzanian man said, “We need computers.” We agreed…
Read More

Traveling, Teaching, And Helping A School In East Africa

I’m helping a school in Tanzania get computers for their students. I plan to travel there this winter and “take you with me.” Two summers ago I came back to Minnesota from teaching in China for a year. While there, I started writing here on Area Voices. Perhaps you read some of these pieces about…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 2

Part one was about the hoopla; this post is about the nuts and bolts of the student struggles in North Minneapolis. When the 6th and 7th graders I taught this day eventually got down to work (which took some doing–see part one), most did get something done. But for many, it wasn’t much. For every…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 1

I walked into the class knowing that it would be a little tougher than other places I taught. I based this hunch on the location, and it was confirmed when I arrived and administrators told me the students can be “a little wild”. I was wrong, however, in what this meant exactly. See, when imagining…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing: The Achievement Gap

I sat on a tiny chair while the 22 Kindergarteners I was assisting this day sat cross-legged on the large, plush map-of-the-world rug in the corner of their room. Their teacher sat before them in her rocking chair going over the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes. It was cute to watch, albeit quite normal.…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing Pt 1: From The Mouths Of Babes

Because I’m yet to make millions from my blog, I decided to start working as a substitute teaching assistant (TA). Boy, do kids say the darnedest things. It’s a pretty common thing these days for teachers of younger students to have a helper in their classrooms, and the beauty of being a substitute TA is…
Read More

A New Plateaus Christmas: )

Let’s go back to my year in China for a moment. In fact, let’s turn it back exactly one year. I was walking into my adult English class with my $.45 Santa hat on that I bought at nearby stationary store. It was the kind of store in China that doesn’t have a cash register—it’ll…
Read More